Cairo, Egypt – Egypt’s Prime Minister says his government has committed to pay what amounts to 24 percent of the total arrears it owes foreign oil companies in a bid to restore investor confidence in an economy damaged by nearly three years of unrest.
Hazem el-Beblawi was speaking Wednesday at an investors’ forum that brought to Cairo businessmen and officials from the Gulf countries. El-Beblawi said his government approved settling $1.5 billion it owed to foreign oil firms. Petroleum ministry spokesman Hamdy Abdel-Aziz said the latest figure for money owed to oil companies stood at $6.2 billion.
El-Beblawi also urged investors to show patience with unrest-hit Egypt. He added that the government is on track to restore political and economic stability, and has realized a “milestone” by completing amendments to the country’s constitution.
In another development, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sherif Ismail and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of State Sultan Al Jaber discussed Tuesday cooperation in the fields of oil industry and mining.
Ismail said that some potential oil projects would be promoted during a planned Egyptian Gulf Investment Forum to be hosted by Cairo, adding that an Egyptian-UAE working group is studying prospective joint projects.
He revealed that an Egyptian delegation including First Undersecretary of the Ministry of Petroleum for Gas Affairs Sharif Sousa and Chairman of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company Tahir Abdul Rahim met in London with officials of Russia’s Gazprom to discuss joint cooperation in investments, exploration and liquefied natural gas and providing Egypt with its needs of gas in the coming period.