WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 12 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC)
has signed a US$70 million financing agreement with Bridas SAPIC of Argentina
to assist in the development and recovery of oil and gas properties and
the implementation of a new exploration program.
Prior to this year, Argentine oil companies were able to access the international
capital markets for medium-term funding. However, Latin American companies
have faced tighter international credit conditions throughout most of 1995.
IFC is providing a US$20 million loan and a US$10 million equity investment
for its own account and is arranging a syndicated loan of up to US$40 million
with international financial institutions.
"IFC is playing an important role in mobilizing funding for Bridas
during a time of tightened access to capital," according to Mr. M.
Azam K. Alizai, Director of IFC's Oil, Gas and Mining Department. "The
project will also help position the company to take advantage of good regional
export opportunities in natural gas and strengthen regional economic integration,"
Natural gas accounts for about 40 percent of total primary energy consumption
in Argentina, but for a far lower share (less than 10 percent) in its neighboring
countries. The project will contribute to an expanding gas network in the
region that could eventually link Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile.
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the leading multilateral
source of equity and loan finance for private sector projects in the developing