EconSource: Egypt has Repaid $9.4 Billion to Foreign Energy Partners

An Egyptian petroleum ministry spokesman announced that Egypt repaid foreign energy firms $9.37 billion in accumulated debt in the past nine months. The remaining outstanding debt Egypt owes to foreign oil and gas companies is estimated at $3.3 billion. Egypt is currently trying to tackle the country’s worst energy crisis which predicts rolling power cuts in the summer, caused by fuel shortfalls at power plants and increasing demand. To procure energy for running power plants in the summer, Egypt recently contracted with five foreign companies to import 90 shipments of fuel. [The Cairo Post, 4/3/2015]

Baghdad makes scheduled budget payment to Kurds
As proof that the Iraqi national government honors a deal over the Kurds’ oil policies, the region  received a March $455 million budget payment from Baghdad, announced the Iraqi finance minister.  In an agreement reached in December the semi-autonomous Kurdish region was promised 17 percent from this year’s $105 billion national budget and in exchange the Kurds will export 550,000 barrels per day from their fields and from the national fields in Kirkuk for which they are responsible. So far, neither side has been able to reach its immediate targets and the central government has severe cash flow problems, burdened by low oil prices and the war against Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL). [Reuters, 4/3/2015]

Qatar’s growth to increase to 7 percent this year
According to the International Monetary Fund, lower oil prices will lead to a substantial deterioration of the fiscal and external balances of Qatar, while in 2015 the country’s economic growth is expected to increase to about 7 percent as the Barzan natural gas field starts production and authorities implement the public investment program. The government budget could fall into a deficit from 2016 onwards and external surpluses will shrink substantially. Economic growth is expected to slow over the medium term as public investment growth tapers. The main risks to the macroeconomic outlook are the possibility of lower-than-expected oil and natural gas prices and the possible side effects of public investments in the form of short-term overheating and medium-term excess capacity. [The Peninsula, 4/3/2015]

Algeria targets fraud to compensate the fall in oil revenues
Algeria intends to toughen the fight against corruption, informal trade, and the illegal transfer of foreign exchange to counterbalance the depletion of its external resources caused by the fall in oil prices. Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal announced that  it will be necessary to reduce the import bill, which estimated $65 billion in imports for 2015 and has already led the government to draw $7 billion in foreign exchange reserves in the fourth quarter 2014. The Complementary Finance Act “will include decisions and measures to ensure better control of foreign trade through the fight against corruption and fraud in the financing of imports and to end the anarchy that characterizes this activity.” [Ennahar Online, 4/3/2015]

Also of interest
Investors urge Egypt to deliver on reform promises | WSJ (blog)
Will Egypt’s new administrative capital help its economy? | Al-Monitor
Billions up for grabs if nuclear deal opens Iran economy | Reuters
Saudi tourism sector will provide 400,000 jobs in five years | Arab News