AfDB Signs USD 150 Million Loan Agreements with Tunisia’ State Oil Corporation

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Tunis, 8 July 2010 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and Tunisia State oil corporation, the Entreprise Tunisienne d'Activités Pétrolières (ETAP), signed on Thursday, 8 July 2010 in Tunis, a USD 150-million corporate loan agreement, to support its 2009-2010 investment plan including financing the country’s Hasdrubal oil & gas field development project.

The AfDB Private Sector Operations Director, Tim Turner, signed for the Bank while ETAP’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Khaled Becheikh, signed for the company.

The Hasdrubal project involves the construction of a stand-alone gas, condensate and oil production system located in the Gulf of Gabès, about 100 km offshore. It comprises six offshore horizontal producing wells, an offshore production platform, an onshore processing plant for the production of natural gas and liquefied petroleum, an offshore gas pipeline, and an onshore pipeline to reach the Tunisian National Electricity and Gas Company (STEG)) network.

The project is being implemented under a 50/50 joint venture by 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, providing approximately 50% of domestic demand from the Miskar field.

The venture underscores the long-term collaboration between the AfDB and ETAP. Indeed, AfDB’s commitment to the Hasdrubal project has been maintained despite significant turbulence in international markets and a fall in oil prices in 2008.

The Hasdrubal project is in line with the Tunisian national energy strategy which is part of the country’s 2007-2011 eleventh Sustainable Development Plan. It is also aligned with the second pillar of the Bank’s 2007-2011 Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Tunisia which includes meeting the growing national demand for energy. By contributing to produce cleaner energy (through the replacement of hydrocarbons by natural gas), the project is also aligned with the Clean Energy Investment Framework adopted by the Bank in 2008.

With an economic return rate estimated at 19%, the project is of strategic importance to Tunisia since it strengthens the country’s energy security and generates additional revenue for  the government through royalties, dividends and taxes, thereby contributing to efforts at improving the country’s balance of payments.

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