Egypt Says To Pay Fuel Tankers Waiting To Dock

By MarEx 2013-03-26 08:56:00

Egypt's government has allocated $235 million of funds to pay for imported fuel cargoes and "a long queue of tankers" are waiting off the coast to discharge badly needed diesel, the oil minister said in remarks published on Tuesday.

Shortages of subsidised diesel have paralyzed transport in parts of Egypt, as the cash-strapped government faces pressure to curb energy subsidies that swallow up a fifth of its budget.

The finance ministry has approved $235 million to pay for fuel and diesel deliveries, Oil Minister Osama Kamal told the business newspaper al-Mal.

"A long queue of tankers carrying refined products are currently waiting at three Egyptian ports to discharge," he said.

The newspaper said at least 13 tankers carrying around 65,000 tonnes of diesel, known as solar in Egypt, and 75,000 tonnes in other refined products such as petrol were waiting off the coast to get paid.

Egypt, which has endured two years of political instability since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, is trying to control a soaring budget deficit and secure a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF.

It is working on an economic programme where it plans to cut back on subsidies of fuel. Last year it eliminated subsidies on 95-octane gasoline, the highest grade available, and it raised fuel prices in many sectors last month.

The government has said it plans to implement a subsidised fuel rationing system at the beginning of July.

--Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alison Birrane (C) Reuters 2013.