Egypt to start paying foreign oil firms by year end
Cairo, October 22, 2013
Egypt will begin repaying the more than $6 billion it owes to foreign oil companies within two months, the chairman of state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) said on Monday.
"By hook or crook we will get them something fixed by the end of this year ... (in) two months maximum," Tarek El Molla told Reuters in an interview.
Egypt has been delaying payments to oil and gas firms as its economy has been hammered by almost constant political upheaval since a 2011 popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Molla said EGPC was making "the required business case" to the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank to organise repayments.
He said the government had not yet finalised a timeline for the repayment of arrears to the firms.
Egypt owes oil companies $6.2 billion, the petroleum minister said earlier this month. Most firms hope to recoup the debts in full, but they acknowledge it could take years.
"The repayment is definitely our objective, it's our priority," said Molla. - Reuters