Foreign oil and gas companies received a US$1.5 billion payment from Egypt as a repayment of part of its debt.
The payment followed the announcement that the government had signed $1.4 billion worth of loans with a National Bank of Egypt led consortium of banks.
The debt owed now stands at $4.9 billion. The last repayment by Egypt was in December 2013 and worth $1.5 billion.
Minister of Petroleum Sheri Ismail said: “The government aims to reduce the debt to encourage the firms to step up research and exploration operations, to boost local production of oil and gas and minimise imports, which in turn will spare the cash to continue paying Egypt's due debts to its foreign partners.”
The minister announced earlier this week that $2-3 billion of its debt would be paid to foreign oil and gas companies before the end of the calendar year.