Official: Egypt debt to foreign oil companies at $3.5 billion

Egypt's debts to foreign oil companies stood at $3.5 billion dollars at the end of June, a 6.1 percent increase from March, an official at state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) said on Sunday.

The country's payments to oil and gas companies have been delayed by economic instability since a popular uprising ousted leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

"Foreign oil company dues with Egypt have reached $3.5 billion dollars," an EGPC official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Egypt's oil ministry said in March that it aimed to fully repay its debts to energy companies by mid-2016, about a year later than previously indicated. In April a ministry spokesman said Egypt had paid foreign energy firms $9.369 billion in arrears in the nine months to March 31.

Arrears began to accumulate before the 2011 uprising but they swelled to billions of dollars amid worsening state finances while the government used gas earmarked for export to meet domestic demand. 

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