Egypt has agreed to import one million barrels of Iraqi oil a month, Minister of Petroleum Tareq el-Molla announced.
The minister added in a press conference that the contract for the deal will be signed within days at the Cabinet headquarters.
Molla expects the first shipment to reach Egypt on May 1. He added that the ship capacity is up to two million barrels. A total of 12 shipments will reach Egypt a year.
Molla said,”This step is very good as it’s the first cooperation with Iraq in the direct import of crude oil,”adding that the contract will be concluded between the Egyptian Petroleum Authority and the Iraqi Petroleum Company.
In the same context,Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met with Ammar Al-Hakim, the leader of Iraq’s Shiite National Alliance bloc in the Iraqi parliament, in Cairo on Tuesday for talks about Iraq and other issues, as reported by al-Ahram, an Egyptian state-owned newspaper.
Al-Sisi and the Shiite cleric discussed the latest developments in Iraq, especially the latest operations of the Iraqi army, against the ISIS militant group as well Egyptian-Iraqi bilateral relations, According to a statement issued by the Egyptian presidency.
In addition, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the head of Egyptian General Intelligence service, Khaled Fawzy, also attended the meeting, as did the Iraqi ambassador to Cairo and several Iraqi MPs who were part of delegation with Al-Hakim.
At an earlier time, Al-Hakim held a separate meeting with Shoukry where they discussed Iraq and bilateral issues. According to the Egyptian foreign ministry,the Shiite leader gave Shoukry a copy of his initiative for a political settlement in Iraq.
Last October,negotiations on exports of Iraqi oil to Egypt began during Molla’s visit to Iraq.
In the same context,Molla discussed with Iraqi officials refining Iraqi crude oil in Egypt and then exporting it again in the form of products to Iraq, he said during the conference.
Moreover, they also discussed establishing development projects by Egyptian companies in Iraq.
After Saudi Arabia suspended its shipments in October 2016 as a result of Egypt’s vote in favor of a Russian-backed draft resolution in the UN Security Council on Syria.
Since then, Egypt seeks to secure its domestic market needs to replace the oil shortage after the Saudi decision that was supposed to facilitate the payments to finance Egypt’s petroleum needs for five years other oil import sources .
It is worth to mentions that after tensions between Cairo and Riyadh, members of the National Iraqi Alliance, which is the largest Shiite group in the parliament, have called on the Iraqi government to supply Egypt with crude oil on credit, in response to what they described as “blackmail” practiced by Saudi Arabia against Cairo.
However, signs of reconciliation appeared recently between Egypt and Saudi Arabia as media reports cited the Egyptian Petroleum Ministry saying that Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco will resume oil product supply to Egypt some six months after halting them suddenly.
The move signaled a potential thaw in relations after months of tension between both countries.