UPDATE 1-Egypt agrees timetable to pay $3 bln to oil firms

Thu Dec 5, 2013 7:51am EST
 
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CAIRO Dec 5 (Reuters) - Egypt has agreed a timetable to pay $3 billion of the $6.3 billion it says it owes foreign oil companies, the state news agency reported, as part of the drive to revive confidence in its economy hammered by nearly three years of political turmoil. The most populous Arab state struck deals to pay the amount in monthly instalments until December 2017 and is negotiating payment on the remaining $1.8 billion owed, state news agency MENA said.

On Wednesday Egypt announced it would pay down $1.5 billion of the money it owes foreign oil firms.

Financial disclosures by firms including BP, BG Group , Edison SpA and TransGlobe Energy show Egypt owed them more than $5.2 billion at the end of 2012.

Egypt wants to encourage foreign oil companies in the country to increase exploration and production in exchange for a more rapid repayment of the money it owes them.

Egypt has been struggling to meet soaring energy bills caused by high subsidies on fuel products for its 85 million population.

The government's ability to pay oil companies and contractors was hit after the popular uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011 frightened away tourists and investors, cutting tax revenue.

Political turmoil deepened after the army overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July.