A man fills the tank of a car at a petrol station in downtown Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt has received six shipments of fuel from the UAE as part of the Gulf state’s promised aid following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Spokesman for the petroleum ministry Hamdi Abdel-Aziz told Ahram Online that the UAE shipments include diesel, petrol and the low-quality fuel oil mazut, and said that the ministry would reveal details regarding the amount of fuel and whether the shipments had been given or sold “soon.”
Last week, the UAE deposited $3 billion into the Egyptian central bank. A total of $12 billion has been pledged to Egypt by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait since the 3 July ouster of Morsi.
According to Abdel-Aziz, negotiations between the petroleum ministry and foreign oil companies are ongoing to facilitate repayment of Egypt’s debts, which stand at an estimated $5.4 billion.
In a related development, Egypt will receive on Wednesday the first of five free liquefied natural gas shipments pledged by Qatar in June under the previous government. The shipment reportedly stands at 70 million cubic feet.
The shipments are part of the gas swap deal signed between Cairo and Doha, by which Egypt will buy the share of foreign companies in locally extracted LNG. The foreign companies will then take the LNG being imported from Qatar.
Newly-appointed minister of petroleum Sherif Ismail has attributed the current availability of fuel products and the disappearance of queues at petrol stations to the government’s efforts to curb fuel smuggling fuel.
Plans to issue smart cards, initially to prevent smuggling and then to control distribution of subsidised fuel, are on track despite the change of minister.
"The next phase of the project, which will be implemented gradually over the months of July, August and September, will include issuing smart cards to follow up on the fuelling of cars and other vehicles," the finance ministry said in a statement on Monday.
Osama Kamal, the former minister of petroleum, told Ahram Online in April that he expected the smart-card system to save some LE30 billion a year. Egypt's fuel subsidy bill was is estimated at LE120 billion in the last fiscal year, 2012/13.
The government will distribute an initial one million cards for vehicles that use diesel, followed by a five million cards for vehicles using gasoline.
Cards will also be issued for other users of fuel products such as factories, bakeries and farmers. The amount of consumption will not be a limited, the statement said.