Egypt’s government paid foreign energy companies $6.5 billion in overdue payments owed this year, Al Borsa reported, citing Oil Minister Osama Kamal.
The North African country still owes international oil companies at least $200 million, Kamal said, according to the Cairo-based financial newspaper. The report didn’t identify any of the companies involved, nor did it quantify any amounts owed from previous years. The newspaper also didn’t specify whether Kamal was referring to the government’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, or the calendar year.
Kamal said Egypt paid the equivalent of $1 billion of the total amount in Egyptian pounds because of its shortage of foreign currency, Al Borsa reported.
El-Watan newspaper reported on Feb. 19 that Egypt owed foreign oil companies about $9 billion, citing Industry and Trade Minister Hatem Saleh. Egypt’s foreign currency reserves have tumbled more than 60 percent from December 2010 to about $13.5 billion.
Hamdi Abdel Aziz, a spokesman for the Oil Ministry, and Mahmoud Nazim, an undersecretary at the ministry, couldn’t be reached on their mobile telephones for comment.