Egypt’s receivables bill to IOCs remains a major point of contention. It ballooned to $6bn in 2014 and although it fell to $3bn at the end of 2015, it edged back up to $3.5bn in December according to official figures.

A lack of forex at Egypt’s Central Bank means state oil firm EGPC has struggled to obtain the cash to pay firms. In 2010 reserves stood at $36bn. They had fallen to just $15.5bn by mid-2016 before an inflow of foreign support tied to November’s $12bn IMF deal boosted the end-year figure to $24.3bn. (CONTINUED - 2209 WORDS)