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IFC Invests in Egypt’s Gas Sector with $45 Million Financing for Merlon Petroleum Companies


In Washington:
Ludi Joseph

Phone: +1 (202) 473-7700

Fax:     + (202) 974-4384

Email:
ljoseph@ifc.org

Ahmed Badawi-Malik

Phone:  +1 (202) 458-7148

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
abadawi@ifc.org

In Cairo:

Tarek Allouba

Phone:  (20-2) 5796565 / 5799900
Fax:  (20-2) 5792211

Email:
tallouba@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., June 14, 2004—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, announced a $45 million investment in Egypt’s growing natural gas sector. The investment will support the exploration and production operations of Merlon Petroleum Companies of Egypt, subsidiaries of Merlon Petroleum Company, a Houston-based oil and gas company.

IFC’s financing consists of long-term loans of $30 million for its own account and $15 million in syndicated loans. IFC loans of $20 million for its own account, for the first phase of the project, were signed on June 8, 2004. The remaining IFC A loan and syndicated loans will be signed in the second phase.    


Merlon Egypt has actively explored the El Mansoura and Qantara concession areas in Egypt since 1998 with natural gas discoveries last year in the El Mansoura area, demonstrating the presence of gas reserves in a region relinquished by other parties. IFC’s investments will help Merlon bring these gas discoveries into production as well as conduct further appraisal and exploration. Merlon Egypt has a 50 percent interest in the El Mansoura concession and a 54 percent interest in the Qantara concession.


Rashad Kaldany, IFC Director for Oil, Gas, Mining, and Chemicals, noted, “I am very pleased that IFC is partnering with Merlon Petroleum Company. This investment will promote domestic gas consumption as a clean and convenient fuel. Companies such as Merlon are important participants in Egypt’s gas sector, helping develop domestic gas reserves to meet the country’s growing demand, contributing additional revenues, and creating employment and opportunities for use of local goods and services.”


Noting that the hydrocarbons sector in Egypt is a strong source of foreign investment and an important contributor to the country’s GDP, Sami Haddad, IFC’s Cairo-based Director for the Middle East and North Africa, observed, “This investment is in line with IFC’s strategy to work with private companies that are active in critical sectors of the economy. I am impressed with Merlon Petroleum Company’s strong dedication to its operations and its experienced team in Cairo, composed significantly of Egyptian nationals.”  


Merlon Egypt is deeply committed to environmental and social sustainability. Working closely with IFC, it has developed and established a comprehensive environmental and social management system that will serve as a framework for the environmental and social management of project activities.


James Kishpaugh, Chairman and CEO of Merlon Petroleum Company, said, “Good hydrocarbon potential and the professional and forward looking petroleum sector in Egypt, led by Minister Sameh Fahmy, together create an environment that encourages private investment by companies like ours. However, the scale of work we are undertaking also requires significant capital investment. The IFC recognizes these facts and fills a much needed role that allows us to complete our project and contribute to Egypt’s success.”


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.