The World Bank last week announced a $1.15bn loan to help Egypt cut fossil fuel subsidies. But the ‘good news’ was tempered by the subsequent announcement of an end to its funding of upstream oil and gas. Egypt has tapped $580mn in such funding since 2013. Add in the IMF and EBRD and the total is $1.32bn.

The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) has been a key backer of independent oil and gas firms in poorer MENA countries: Tunisia, Jordan and Morocco, but...