Egypt reduces arrears owed to foreign oil companies to $2.3 billion

CAIRO, June 8 (Reuters) - Egypt has reduced arrears owed to foreign oil companies to $2.3 billion, the Egyptian oil ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The country repaid $2.2 billion in three weeks, the statement said.

Once an energy exporter, Egypt has turned into a net importer in recent years, squeezed by declining production and increasing consumption.

Cairo has pledged to eliminate the arrears by the end of June 2019 and not accumulate more, part of its drive to draw new foreign investment to an energy sector that is attracting interest following several major gas discoveries. (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Amina Ismail; Editing by Toby Chopra)