Egypt’s arrears to foreign oil firms drop to $850mn end-June: minister

Egypt’s arrears to foreign oil companies decreased to $850 million at the end of June from $900 million last year, said petroleum minister on Wednesday.

“The balance of foreign partners’ dues decreased by the end of June to $850 million from $900 million a year ago, despite the impact of the coronavirus crisis,” Minister Tarek el-Molla told Reuters.

The arrears were down 5.5 percent from the end of the financial year 2018/2019.

Arrears to foreign oil companies accumulated after the 2011 uprising which toppled President Hosni Mubarak and reached $6.3 billion in the 2011/2012 financial year.

They have declined steadily since 2014 as Egypt sought to become a regional energy hub.

Cairo has been trying to eliminate its arrears as it seeks to attract more foreign investment to its energy industry, which has drawn increased interest after several major gas discoveries were made.

Over the past three years, Egypt also has phased out subsidies on most fuel products as part of an IMF-backed economic reform programme.