The Minister of Petroleum during the press conference - Press Photo
CAIRO – 5 July 2018: Egypt's debts to foreign oil companies declined to $1.2 billion by the end of June 2018, recording their lowest value since 2010, according to Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla.
The minister added in a press conference that debts to foreign companies are set to be fully paid by the end of 2019, hoping to pay them sooner.
Molla clarified that the debt levels reached 50 percent of its levels in 2010, adding that the decrease will encourage more competition in the auction of new discoveries and the entry of new companies to the Egyptian market.
Regarding exporting gas, the minister said that Egypt has contractual commitments on the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to international markets and will start to export by the end of the year.
Egypt planned to stop importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) by the end of last fiscal year 2017/2018 by adding 1.6 million cubic feet to its production from its latest gas discoveries, including West Delta’s Taurus and Libra fields, as well as the Atoll and Zohr gas fields.
Molla said previously that Egypt may stop importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the fourth quarter.
The minister added that exports of Zohr gas field as well as other gas fields’ production will start early next year.
He said that the final LNG import tender was issued to cover the third quarter's domestic requirements, and the fourth quarter should be “imports-free”.
“I don’t think there will be more tenders; I think this is it,” Molla said in an interview, adding “Local production should cover our needs.”
Molla clarified that once Egypt has a sufficient surplus, it will start compensating companies that have rights to operate the country’s LNG export terminals, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Union Fenosa SA.
"Egypt expects to attract $10 billion both this year and next year in foreign investment in its oil and gas industry," the minister said.
In 2015, Eni discovered Zohr gas field, the biggest gas field in the Mediterranean, with an estimated production of 30 trillion cubic feet.
The second phase of Zohr gas field will add around 2 billion cubic feet per day to Egypt's production and will be completed before the end of the year, according to Minister of Petroleum Molla.