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Egypt Finalizes 12 Oil, Gas Exploration Agreements

Egypt Finalizes 12 Oil, Gas Exploration Agreements

Thursday, 30 July, 2020 - 09:45
Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek al-Mulla (file photo: Reuters)
Cairo - Asharq Al-Awsat

Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek al-Mulla announced that research and exploration in the energy sector are ongoing in the country, despite the repercussions and challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mulla said that the economic and financial reforms that have been implemented during the past five years helped mitigate the effects of the crisis.

Speaking during a videoconference on the “Future of Energy in Egypt,” the minister pointed out that the petroleum industry succeeded in completing 12 agreements of oil and gas research and exploration in the Western Desert, eastern and western Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

The parliament recently approved the agreements, and preparations are underway for the final signature with the foreign companies.

The meeting was held with the participation of the members of the Egyptian-US Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, Huston and Cairo.

Economic and trade relations between Egypt and the US are very strong and distinguished, he said, adding that the two countries have launched the first strategic dialogue in the energy field last year.

Mulla said that Egypt’s arrears to foreign oil companies stood at $850 million at the end of June, done from $900 million a year earlier.

“The balance of foreign partners’ dues decreased by the end of June to $850 million from $900 million a year ago, despite the impact of the coronavirus crisis,” he told Reuters.

The minister announced that the domestic consumption rates of petroleum products and natural gas have witnessed a noticeable decline during the past five months, indicating that the sector has achieved about 27 percent of Egypt's gross domestic product, according to the latest announced economic indicators.

Arrears to foreign oil companies accumulated after the 2011 uprising and reached $6.3 billion in the 2011/2012 fiscal year. However, they have declined steadily since the 2014/2015 fiscal year as Egypt sought to become a regional energy hub.

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