Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Egypt paid $750 mln in oil company arrears, to pay same in June - REUTERS

Tue May 16, 2017 | 1:31pm EDT

Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

Egypt has paid off $750 million of its debt to international oil companies and will make a second payment of the same amount at the start of next month, Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer said on Tuesday.

Egypt has struggled to pay arrears to foreign oil and gas companies operating in the country, with outstanding debt at $3.5 billion before the latest payment.

"Today $750 million was paid to international oil companies and another $750 million will be paid on June 1, meaning that there is $1.5 billion the government has committed to pay to the international companies," Amer told a news conference.

The payments are the first since Egypt paid about $100 million in the last quarter of 2016.

Cairo has pledged to eliminate the arrears by the end of June 2019 and not accumulate more, part of its drive to draw new foreign investment to an energy sector that is attracting interest following several major gas discoveries.

Amer said separately that Egypt has received $8 billion in investment from 150 global investment funds over the past six months.