(Adds quotes, context)
LONDON Aug 22 Egypt has appointed Tarek El
Molla as chairman of state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corp
(EGPC), the oil ministry said, a move that is likely to
encourage foreign oil companies operating there.
"Tarek El Molla, who is vice chairman for foreign trade,
will carry out the duties of chairman of EGPC," a ministry
statement said on Thursday.
Molla, a veteran at EGPC, replaces incumbent Tarek El
Barkatawy. Top oil officials have been changed a number of times
since Egypt's revolution, and this is the third switch at EGPC
since the start of the year. Tarek El Barkatawy was appointed
"It's good because before he was head of foreign trade and
operations. He is active and I hope that things improve," an
Egyptian industry source said.
Oil and gas operators have complained about the lack of
communication and decision-making after the fall of Hosni
Mubarak in 2011, a situation which did not improve after the
election Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mursi.
"At times it almost felt like (Molla) was in charge of
everything. And he is the only one you can present to the
outside," one trading source with close ties in Egypt said,
referring to the lack of firm leadership amid frequent changes
at the top.
The new EGPC chairman will have to help resolve the problem
of Egypt's ballooning fuel subsidies, billions in debt to
foreign companies and the need to spur upstream investment to
counterbalance production declines.
Egypt hopes to cut energy subsidies by an annual 3.5 billion
Egyptian pounds ($500 million) after it begins giving smart
cards to vehicle owners next month, and it would like to target
more such cuts, Finance Minister Ahmed Galal said earlier this
(Reporting by Julia Payne in London and Maha El Dahan in Dubai;
editing by Jane Baird)