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EXCLUSIVE-Egypt's arrears to foreign oil firms fall to $900 mln at end of June - minister

June - minister@ (Adds detail and background)

CAIRO, July 11 (Reuters) - Egypt's arrears to foreign oil companies declined to $900 million at the end of June from $1.2 billion a year ago, the petroleum minister said on Thursday, adding that the remaining amount would be paid soon.

Tarek el-Molla also told Reuters that total monthly payments by Egypt to foreign oil companies stood at $700 million.

Italy's ENI, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Italian energy group Edison have dominated energy exploration work in Egypt in recent years.

Arrears to foreign oil companies piled up after the 2011 uprising that forced long-ruling President Hosni Mubarak to step down, reaching $6.3 billion in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

But they have been declining since 2014 as Egypt sought to become a regional energy hub.

Egypt owed foreign oil companies $2.4 billion in June 2017.

Molla said he hoped that the remaining arrears would be paid soon, but gave no specific time.

Cairo has pledged not to accumulate more arrears, part of its drive to draw new foreign investment to an energy sector that is attracting interest following several major gas discoveries.

(Reporting by Ahmed Ismail; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Edmund Blair and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)