The Iraqi ambassador to Cairo Habeeb Mohamed Al-Sadr said that Iraq has signed an agreement to supply Egypt with one million barrels each month, according to the state-owned Al-Ahram.
Al-Sadr said the Iraqi Oil Marketing company SOMO sent the contract for the oil exports to the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum for final approval.
The Iraqi Ambassador added that the first batch of oil is expected to be delivered within the last 10 days of March 2017.
Al-Sadr told Al-Ahram that there will be strategic joint energy projects that are expected to link Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan together.
Egypt had to shift to Iraq for oil supply after Saudi’s oil company of Aramco decided to halt a five-year agreement to import 700,000 tons of petroleum products each month to Egypt in October. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi signed the oil agreement with Saudi King Salman in April during the latter’s visit. During the same visit, they signed the controversial Tiran and Sanafir Red Islands agreement.
The Saudi suspension decision came following Egypt’s voting in the United Nations (UN) security council in favor of two rival resolutions regarding peace in Syria. The first one was filed by France and backed by the United States, while the second was filed by Russia.
The two resolutions failed to be adopted by the council as both of them were vetoed. However, Egypt’s vote in favor the Russian resolution received severe backlash, particularly from Saudi Arabia which depicted the move as an explicit support to Russia that is backing Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad.
Saudi Arabia and Egyptian officials claimed that the suspension decision wasn’t a reaction to the voting, but was taken before it happened. However, the decision was officially announced a couple of days following the voting.
The tension between the oil-rich country and Egypt wasn’t only sparked by Egypt’s voting, it was deepened by Egypt’s lack of support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen against Houthi rebels. Despite Egypt’s full support to this coalition, it hadn’t made major contributions to this military campaign.
In January, Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court issued a final verdict, declaring void the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir Islands to Saudi Arabia, another obstacle in the Egyptian-Saudi bilateral relations.
On the diplomatic level, Egypt and Saudi Arabia repeatedly denied any tension.