Saudi Aramco resumes Egypt oil deliveries: ministry

FILE PHOTO: A Saudi Aramco employee sits in the area of its stand at the Middle East Petrotech 2016, an exhibition and conference for the refining and petrochemical industries, in Manama, Bahrain, September 27, 2016. Photo: Reuters

CAIRO - Egypt has received its first two oil shipments from Saudi giant Aramco after deliveries were suspended for several months over political differences, an oil ministry spokesperson said on Sunday.

"On Friday and Saturday, we received the first two deliveries after a resumption of the contract with Aramco," oil ministry spokesperson Hamdi Abdel Aziz told AFP.

"We will receive another two deliveries on March 26 and 27."

During a visit to Cairo by King Salman in April last year, Saudi Arabia agreed to finance Egyptian imports of refined products from Aramco for five years in a $23-billion (R292.59 billion) deal.

But in October, Aramco decided to suspend deliveries of 700,000 tonnes of petroleum products a month during a spat between the two countries over the conflict in Syria.

At the time, Aramco was cited as saying the suspension was due to "special commercial conditions amid fluctuations in international oil prices".

But the move came after Egypt voted in favour of a Russian-drafted UN Security Council resolution on Syria that Saudi Arabia strongly opposed.

Moscow is a staunch supporter of President Bashar al-Assad's regime while Riyadh is a key backer of the rebels.

Riyadh has also been frustrated by Cairo's unwillingness to send ground troops to join a Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has provided Egypt with billions of dollars in aid and credit since then army chief, now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The kingdom is strongly opposed to the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement to which Morsi belongs.


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