Egypt has alternatives to Saudi Aramco oil products if necessary: minister
Tue, 25/10/2016 – 12:58 Al-Masry Al-Youm Egypt Independent
The five-year-long agreement on the supply of petroleum products with Saudi
Aramco is still valid and has not been canceled, said Tariq al-Molla,
Minister of Petroleum, on Tuesday, but Egypt has alternatives available if
Saudi oil supplies are interrupted.
Molla made the comments on the sidelines of a meeting with a delegation of
50 US companies currently visiting Egypt, a trip organized by the American
Chamber of Commerce.
The minister’s comments follow reports that Saudi Aramco had indicated
delays in the supply of refined oil products to Egypt in October. Some had
linked the delays to tensions between Egypt and Saudi Arabia over the
conduct of the Syrian civil war, after Egypt supported a Russian ceasefire
resolution at the UN Security Council.
While Egyptian officials have rejected any link between such diplomatic
tensions and the alleged Saudi Aramco delays, Molla appears keen to assert
that Egypt is able to meet its domestic needs by other means if necessary.
Government sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Tuesday that Egypt could meet
its domestic needs by resorting to other markets, including the UAE, if
Saudi Aramco decided to halt supplies of oil products. The sources added
that Egypt is close to signing an agreement with the UAE.
The sources pointed out that Saudi Aramco has not yet informed Egypt whether
November supplies of refined oil products will be dispatched on time.
The UAE has offered similar facilities to those provided by Saudi Aramco,
according to the sources, meaning that Egypt could switch to a new Gulf
supplier in case of a break in supplies from Saudi Arabia.
The sources refused to disclose whether Egypt was negotiating with countries
other than the UAE, but they said that Egypt’s petrol needs could be
provided through global tenders.
“If an Aramco delay in providing petroleum products recurrs, Egypt will
resort to the international market and tenders… as was the case before the
Aramco agreement,” Molla said on Tuesday.
Speaking by phone to a talk-show on Al-Araby TV channel on October 11,
Petroleum Ministry Spokesperson Hamdy Abdel Aziz said that Aramco has states
verbally that there may be delays in shipments to Egypt through October,
giving no indication of why this was.
Abdel Aziz expressed his wonder at Aramco’s failure to provide reasons for
the possible delays through October. However, he said that Egypt has many
other suppliers it can turn to in such cases.
Rather than being a political spat between countries, the delays were likely
due to commercial issues between the companies involved at each end, he
On Monday October 10, meanwhile, a government official told Reuters that
Aramco had informed the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) in
early October that it would halt the supply of refined oil products to