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Egypt owes $6 billion to foreign oil firms

Egypt owes $6 billion to foreign oil firms

: Thursday, December 05 - 2013 @ 12:07

Government promises to pay first $1.5bn of debt to restore investor confidence

With an economy damaged by nearly three years of political turmoil, it is time to allay concerns regarding legal uncertainties and the foreign currency black market, say officials.

“There is approval to pay $1.5 billion,” says Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, adding that the arrears had discouraged investment in the critical energy sector.

The state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) plans to bid rounds this month for 15 oil and gas exploration blocks in the Gulf of Suez and the eastern and western deserts, EGPC’s deputy CEO for agreements, Adel Saeed, told Reuters on the sidelines of the gathering.

Egypt’s state news agency claims that the country signed agreements on Wednesday, December 4, with Apache Corp , Royal Dutch Shell and GDF Suez for oil and gas exploration in the eastern and western deserts and the Gulf of Suez.

Finance Minister Ahmed Galal also told conference delegates the central bank would supply the dollars to reimburse the oil companies. Oil minister Sherif Ismail adds that this will happen within days. Financial disclosures by firms, including BP, BG Group, Edison SpA and TransGlobe Energy, show Egypt owed them more than $5.2bn at the end of 2012.

In the week after the army removed Moorsi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE promised Egypt a total of $12bn in grants, interest-free loans and oil products, reports Reuters. Egypt hopes Gulf investors will also inject cash. Investment Minister Osama Saleh told the newswire that he hopes for $4bn to 5bn in direct foreign investment by the end of June, 2014.

Government officials revealed that Egypt’s political roadmap to elections and restored stability is on track.

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Thursday, December 5- 2013 @ 12:07 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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