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AfDB Approves USD 150 Million Loan to Tunisia’s Oil and Gas Company

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Tunis, 18 March 2010 - The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Board of Directors on Wednesday, 17 March 2010 in Tunis, approved a USD 150-million 5-year non-sovereign guarantee corporate loan to Tunisia’s state-owned oil and gas exploration and production company, the Entreprise Tunisienne d'Activités Pétrolières (ETAP), to finance the Hasdrubal oil & gas field development project, under its 2009-2010 investment plan.

The Hasdrubal project includes the construction of a stand-alone gas, condensate and oil production system some 100 km offshore in the Gulf of Gabes. It comprises six offshore horizontal producing wells, an offshore production platform, an onshore processing plant for production of natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas, an offshore gas pipeline, and an onshore pipeline to the national electricity and gas company (STEG) network.

The project is a 50/50 joint venture with British Gas Tunisia Limited (BGT) and ETAP. BGT, the Tunisian subsidiary of the British Gas Group - the world’s leading company in the energy sector - is the largest producer of gas in Tunisia, supplying approximately 50% of domestic requirements from the Miskar field.

The approval underscores the long-standing collaboration between the AfDB and ETAP. The AfDB’s commitment to the Hasdrubal project has been maintained despite the significant turbulence in international markets and the fall in oil prices since 2008.

Designed to strengthen Tunisia’s energy security, the project is of strategic importance to the country. In addition; the project will enable the government to generate additional revenues though royalties, dividends and taxes. It will also improve the country’s balance of payments, with an economic return rate estimated at 19%.

The Hasdrubal project is in line with the Tunisian national energy strategy and the country’s 2007-2011 Eleventh Development Plan, which emphasize the need to replace existing hydrocarbon facilities with natural gas. With infrastructure modernization and strengthening of the production sector as key priorities, the Hasdrubal project is in harmony with the AfDB’s strategy for Tunisia. The project is also in conformity with the Clean Energy Investment Framework adopted by the AfDB in 2008.

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