WASHINGTON, D.C., July 8, 1998 ---In its largest
ever syndicated loan to Sub-Saharan Africa, the International Finance Corporation
has made its first disbursement under a revolving facility with a credit
line of up to US$250 million for Pecten Cameroon Company (PCC) to develop
oil fields off the coast of Cameroon.
The facility will be used to finance an ongoing development program to
limit an expected decline in oil production and keep output close to current
levels. The program involves drilling new oil wells, rehabilitating existing
wells, installing new platforms, and constructing additional production
facilities. Pecten and its partner, Elf Serepca, produce about 100,000
barrels of oil per day from oil fields in the Rio del Rey and Lokele permit
areas, offshore the Republic of Cameroon.
The investment reflects the continued support of IFC for Cameroon’s oil
industry, which provides significant revenues to the government, according
to Mr. Philippe Lietard, IFC’s Director of Oil, Gas, and Mining. It is
the first time that IFC has provided a revolving credit facility outside
the financial sector and introduces a new financial product into Cameroon.
Mr. Lietard also noted that this largest IFC syndicated loan in the region
marks the Corporation’s continuing commitment to Sub-Saharan Africa.
Up to US$60 million of the credit line is for IFC’s account, with the
remaining US$190 million being for the account of a syndicate of 15 participant
banks. As long as no more than US$250 million is outstanding, funds will
be disbursed on a revolving basis during a five year availability period
and will be repaid over the five years following disbursement.
Pecten is 80 percent owned by a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company and 20
percent owned by Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH), Cameroon’s
state oil company. Elf Serepca is 80 percent owned by Elf Aquitaine of
France and 20 percent owned by SNH.
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing
world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the
international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and
advice to governments and businesses. To date, IFC has invested about US$4.7
billion in oil and gas projects worldwide, of which US$2.3 billion has
been for IFC’s account.