Egypt's state-owned EGAS said on Friday it had postponed a liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivery from BP last month until later this year, rejecting suggestions there were any payment difficulties.
LNG tanker British Sapphire was diverted to Brazil rather than discharging in Egypt. Traders said the delay was related to payment problems.
"This is completely untrue," EGAS Chairman Khaled Abdel Badie told Reuters, adding that deliveries had been postponed until Egypt's peak energy consumption period in August.
Egypt became a major market for LNG shippers after the launch of two floating import terminals last year.
Badie said Egypt is looking to rent a third floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in the first quarter on 2016.
Egypt has struggled to pay for oil products and LNG due to an acute foreign currency crisis worsened by a fall in tourism following the crash of a Russian airliner in Egypt in October.
According to financial and trade sources, last month Egypt asked for 90 days to pay for LNG deliveries, up from the traditional 15, creating arrears currently estimated at $400-$500 million.
Egypt's suppliers include Shell, Gas Natural , Trafigura, Vitol, EDF Trading , PetroChina and Noble Group.
Reporting by Abdel Rahman Adel