CAIRO, Oct 11 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's petroleum ministry contracted the required amount of refined oil products to make up for the halted shipment from Saudi Aramco this month, the ministry's official spokesperson said.
A government official told Reuters on Monday that Saudi Aramco informed the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) in early October that it would halt the supply of refined oil products to Egypt.
Egypt's state oil company, EGPC, thus rapidly increased its tenders to acquire refined oil products to make up for the halted supply from Aramco despite a severe dollar shortage.
The petroleum ministry's official spokesperson Hamdy Abdel Aziz told Aswat Masriya that part of the contracted amount has already arrived to Egypt, while the rest is set to be delivered soon.
Saudi Arabia had agreed to supply Egypt with a monthly 700,000 tons of refined oil products for five years after a $23 billion deal was reached between Saudi Aramco and the EGPC.
The deal was signed during Saudi King Salman's visit to Egypt in April.
Aramco's shipments represent 40 percent of refined oil products imported by Egypt, according to Abdel Aziz.
Abdel Aziz clarified that the ministry has provided the funds necessary for acquiring the required amounts of refined oil products during the month of October.
The EGPC plans to allocate more than $500 million to purchase petroleum products and Egypt plans to launch some tenders to buy fuel needed for local consumption, Reuters reported on Monday.
Current reserves of oil products are enough to meet market demand and are supplied by the ministry on a daily basis to the market, Abdel Aziz said.
Saudi petroleum aide, among other Saudi grants, represent a main pillar of assistance directed towards Egypt's foreign reserves, which stood at $19.59 billion at the end of September, its highest in over a year.
The central bank governor has said he would consider letting the pound float freely if reserves exceed $25 billion.
Egypt is due to receive a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Earlier this week, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said that Egypt has "almost completed" prior actions necessary for the IMF’s board to formally approve the loan.