| 7.6°C Dublin

Irish oil firms keep close watch on turmoil in Egypt

IRISH-based oil companies are monitoring the unrest in Egypt after businesses started to evacuate employees from the crisis-ridden country last week.

"It's a disturbing situation and we're watching it closely," Brian Hall, the executive chairman of the Dublin-listed oil exploration company, Aminex, told the Sunday Independent last night.

Aminex, which is also listed in London, announced last week that it was raising €24m to finance exploration and development in Tanzania and the US this year.

Hall said that Aminex and its staff had not been affected by the unrest in Egypt as the firm's operations there were managed by an Egyptian partner. "Oil prices are unlikely to be pushed up from the crisis in Egypt alone," said Hall. "But if the crisis spills over into the Middle East, oil prices could go up."

Limerick-based Circle Oil said last week that its operations and oil production in Egypt were "unaffected" by the events there. "The company continues to monitor the situation in Egypt," it said in a statement.

At least one million protesters called on Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak to leave office last week -- and at least a dozen people have lost their lives as violence escalated on the streets.

International companies such as Heineken and Siemens have already evacuated some staff from Egypt. Google temporarily closed its Cairo office last week.

Sunday Indo Business