Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla was on his way to Iran on Sunday to try to strike new oil deals, Reuters news agency reported, saying that the visit comes after Saudi Arabia suspended its oil agreement last month.
The agency quoted sources close to the Egyptian minister’s delegation as saying at Cairo airport.
Saudi Arabia has showered Egypt with billions of dollars in aid since 2013, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted elected former president Mohammad Mursi and banned his Muslim Brotherhood movement, which Riyadh opposes.
The Saudi deal was for 700,000 tons of oil products a month for five years under a $23 billion deal between Saudi Aramco and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) to be paid off over 15 years.
Molla is set to meet several senior Iranian officials to discuss the possibility of securing oil supplies from Tehran, one source, who accompanied Molla to the airport, said.
His visit to Iran, may signal a further rift between Egypt and its “top benefactor,” Reuters said.
Molla said last month it was unclear when the Saudi oil deliveries would resume and Saudi Arabia has provided no reason for their suspension.
Egypt has since worked to secure new energy sources, signing a memorandum of understanding last week with Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR for up to 2 million barrels of crude oil.