The problems of small independent firms in Egypt pre-dated the late-2014 oil price crash. Indeed the reason the crash hit so many of them so hard is that their revenue in Egypt (as in monies actually received rather than that due) had already collapsed due to chronic payment delays on behalf of Egyptian state firm EGPC (which typically markets crude on behalf of smaller producers).

Egypt has always had a reputation as a tardy payer. But receivables to IOCs active in the country soared in...