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IFC INVESTS IN CAMEROON’S OIL INDUSTRY


L. Joseph
July 8, 1998  Phone: (202) 473-7700
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: ljoseph@ifc.org


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.