Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sherif Ismail denied in a press statement on Tuesday that international oil companies operating in Egypt would halt production as a result of the Egyptian government’s delay in repaying debts accumulated for years.
Ismail pointed out that the companies had already approved an investment budget for the fiscal year 2013/2014 at US$8 million in Egypt.
The minister added that the government fully understands the importance of starting to pay part of the debts to the companies operating in Egypt and schedule the rest of the dues in order to motivate more investments and increase the rates of research and exploration.
The ministries of Petroleum and Finance study along with the Central Bank of Egypt means of paying off part of Egypt’s debts to foreign oil companies, and scheduling the rest over a longer period of time .
The Central Bank and Fiance Ministry will have to provide the needed money from foreign reserves. The total amount of debts are $6.2 billion.
As Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawy’s Cabinet, Ismail said foreign companies operating in Egypt confirmed its commitment to the plans and programs of research, exploration and development of discovered fields in Egypt.
Ismail added international companies such as the Chinese compnay Sinopec plans to invest in Egypt alongside other international companies who have won biddings put forward by the General Petroleum Authority, the Holding Company for Natural Gas and Ganoub El Wadi Petroleum Holding Company.
The cabinet will sign soon 21 new oil agreements with international companies with a minimum investment of US$712 million .
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm