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International oil companies operating in Egypt have yet to react to the renewed unrest in the North African country with any concrete steps, but several said Tuesday they were watching developments closely.

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The situation in Egypt has become increasingly tense after Egypt's presidency on Tuesday rejected an army ultimatum threatening to intervene if Islamist President Mohamed Morsi did not meet the demands of the people.

The army on Monday gave Morsi 48 hours to comply with its call.

UK-based BG Group, one of the biggest international operators in Egypt, said the safety of its people was its first priority.

"We are monitoring the situation in Egypt closely and are keeping a close eye on developments, but we don't discuss specific security arrangements we have in place," a BG spokesman said Tuesday.

A spokesman for BP echoed BG's comments.

"We're just monitoring the situation at the moment. There's been no impact on our people or operations," the spokesman said.

In February 2011, when Egypt's then president Hosni Mubarak was ousted following 18 days of anti-government demonstrations, international oil companies evacuated staff and halted drilling.

But companies quickly returned staff and resumed operations after Mubarak stood down.

The army's statement came just a day after millions of protesters took to the streets across Egypt Sunday, calling for Morsi to step down, AFP reported.

Egypt has been deeply divided between Morsi's Islamist supporters and a broad-based opposition.

Sixteen people died in protests on Sunday, including eight in clashes between supporters and opponents of the president outside the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Morsi belongs, AFP said.

Early on Monday, protesters set the Brotherhood's headquarters ablaze before looting it.

Morsi's opponents accuse him of having betrayed the revolution by concentrating power in Islamist hands and of sending the economy into freefall.

His supporters say he inherited many problems from a corrupt regime, and that he should be allowed to complete his term, which ends in 2016.

--Stuart Elliott,
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,