Washington, D.C./Tirana, Albania, May
11, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has agreed to support
the further privatization of the Patos Marinza oilfield in southern Albania
to help revive an outmoded industry and promote the reduction of pollution
in the area.
IFC has approved a US$50 million loan plus a special-purpose environmental-term
loan of US$5 million to Bankers Petroleum Ltd, a Canadian oil and gas company.
IFC may also make an equity investment of up to 12 million Canadian dollars.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing
Bankers Petroleum has been operating a small portion of the Patos Marinza
oilfield since 2004. The current expansion of Bankers’ operation will
modernize the oilfield, transferring specialized technical know-how and
experience to a largely local workforce. This will contribute revenues
to the Albanian government and help promote much-needed foreign direct
investment in the country’s hydrocarbon sector.
“IFC’s financial support at this time of tight credit markets is vital
to carrying out a large development project at Patos Marinza,” said Abby
Badwi, CEO of Bankers Petroleum. “We particularly appreciate their expertise
in helping us to involve other stakeholders in tackling the significant
environmental remediation needs in the oilfield. In addition, this sizable
long-term investment will allow our company continued access to competitive
and sustainable financing arrangements to fund currently planned and future
growth opportunities in Albania.”
Patos Marinza is severely polluted following decades of ownership by the
state-owned operator Albpetrol. Bankers will clean up existing wells taken
over from Albpetrol and help reduce pollution and oilfield-contamination
risks as they expand their activities in the area.
“This project is a good example of how investing in the private sector
can lead to tangible benefits for people on the ground,” said Somit Varma,
IFC’s Global Head for Oil, Gas, Mining, and Chemicals. “While IFC provides
financing to help improve recovery rates and accelerate domestic oil production,
we also help the company to contribute to environmental remediation initiatives
aimed at improving living conditions in the surrounding area.”
The United Nations Development Program has classified the Patos Marinza
area as one of Albania’s pollution hotspots. As the clean-up takes a wider
effort involving many more stakeholders than Bankers alone, IFC and EBRD
have helped establish a multi-stakeholder working group to formulate environmental
and social strategies and initiatives. IFC has engaged with Albanian ministries
to secure their support and leadership on this initiative, as well as with
the European Union to align ongoing initiatives.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2
billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For
more information, visit www.ifc.org.