UK-based energy company BG Group has received $350m from the Egyptian government, according to a statement released by the company on 2 January.

The payment comes as Cairo struggles to clear debts worth billions of dollars to foreign energy companies.

In October, Egypt’s energy ministry said the government owed $4.9bn to firms including BG Group, UAE-based Dana Gas and UK firm BP.

The latest payment from the government reduces BG Group’s domestic receivables balance in Egypt to $920m.

BG Group says it “continues to investigate options for increasing the supply of gas and is working with the government on resolving the outstanding receivables balance”.

Egypt is currently experiencing its worst energy crisis in decades as demand for natural gas exceeds domestic production.

Clearing the country’s debts to foreign oil companies is viewed by analysts as a key step in increasing investment in developing Egypt’s oil and gas fields.