Investments in Egypt’s oil and gas sector by international oil companies (IOCs) rose to $10 billion during 2017, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, told Al Borsa.

The minister noted that Egypt continues to pay down its arrears to the IOCs. After a recent payment of $2.2 billion, Egypt’s arrears to IOCs shrank to $2.3 billion, the lowest they have been since 2013, El Molla said.

Two years ago, the government’s back payments to the IOCs reached $6.3 billion. It has since committed to making payments on time.

The ministry of petroleum is seeking to increase production through the adoption of new methods and technologies to compensate for the naturally declining output of oil and gas wells, El Molla said. He further noted that the ministry is launching international exploration and production (E&P) tenders and continues to sign E&P agreements to boost production.

Egypt has signed 82 E&P agreements worth $15.4 billion during the past three years, El Molla stated, adding that these agreements will lead to new discoveries and will boost oil and gas production and reserves.