Egypt’s gas output collapsed to just 3.75bn cfd in April, from almost 6bn cfd as recently as 2012. Receivables owed to IOCs stand at a whopping $5.36bn (MEES, 27 May). Even oil output has been falling back having edged higher in recent years (see graph).

Cairo’s shining light amidst the turmoil has been the August 2015 discovery by Italian firm Eni of the 23 tcf Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean deepwater. The strategic significance of the project – with the find coming...