Egypt arrears to foreign oil companies fall by over 80%: Minister

Menna Alaa El-Din , Tuesday 11 Feb 2020

Egypt’s dues to foreign oil companies accumulated after the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, reaching $6.3 billion in the fiscal year 2011/2012.

Petroleum minister El-Molla
Petroleum minister Tarek El-Molla speaking at Cairo hosted oil show EGYPS (Photo courtesy of Petroleum ministry)

Egypt has paid more than 80 percent of its arrears to foreign oil companies, petroleum minister Tarek El-Molla said on Tuesday during an oil forum in Cairo.

"We reduced dues to foreign partners by more than 80 percent which contributed to restoring confidence and has reflected positively on increasing investments by our current partners and the entry of new investors," the minister told the EGYPS 2020 conference.

El-Molla said last year that overdue arrears had dropped to $900 million by the end of June 2019, from $1.2 billion a year earlier. Last month, Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer said the country has paid all overdue debts to foreign oil companies.

Egypt's debt to foreign oil companies piled up after the 2011 uprising that overthrew longtime president Hosni Mubarak, hitting $6.3 billion in fiscal year 2011/2012. However, arrears have continued to drop over the past five years.

Speaking at the conference, El-Molla said that the oil and gas sector accounted for 27 percent of Egypt's gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2018/2019 fiscal year, at 1.4 trillion Egyptian pounds. Foreign investments in the oil industry over the past four years stood at $35 billion, he added.

Oil forum EGYPS 2020, which runs from Tuesday to Thursday at the Egypt International Exhibition Center in New Cairo, is bringing together 30,000 attendees, over 450 exhibiting companies and 15 country pavilions.

It was inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. 

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