Egypt’s Oil Minister Tariq al-Mulla has called on the country’s refiners to accelerate new projects as Cairo looks to curb a ballooning products import bill. Imports of both gasoline and diesel more than doubled last year hitting records of 59,000 b/d and 149,000 b/d respectively (see chart).

At the 24 March signing of two new contracts for the 47,000 b/d Assiut refinery in the Nile Valley, 320km south of Cairo, Mr Mulla said that the upgrades are part of a planned investment in...