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$2bn loan finances Ghana oilfield

18 March 2009

UK-based oil explorer, Tullow oil has secured a $2 billion loan to finance the full development of its massive Jubliee oilfield off the coast of Ghana, sending the company’s shares up over 9%.
The loan, a refinancing of cash that Tullow borrowed to buy the field in the first place, will help to fill a gap as its North Sea extraction dwindles and as it builds the pipelines and other infrastructure required to move to full production at Jubilee in the second half of 2010.

Tullow oil completes refinancing
Tullow oil completes refinancing

Tullow raised some cash in an equity placing in January 2009 and that was designed to help it to secure reasonable terms on its bank debt.

The US$2 billion of debt is split between a Senior Facility of US$1.785 billion, a Junior Facility of US$100 million and an IFC facility of US$115 million with a final maturity of December 2015. The margin on the Senior and IFC facilities, depending on the level drawn, is up to 3.75% over US$ LIBOR.

On Friday 6 March, facility documentation for US$1.885 billion was executed by BNP Paribas, Bank of Scotland Plc, Barclays Bank PLC, Calyon, ING Bank N.V., Lloyds TSB Bank plc, Natixis SA, NIBC Bank N.V., Societe Generale, Standard Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc. In addition, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, have Board approval to provide the remaining US$115 million.

The new debt facilities will replace the Group's existing reserve based lend debt arrangements and provide funding for Tullow's future capital commitments, including the world-class Jubilee project in Ghana.
Ian Springett, Chief Financial Officer, said: "These new debt arrangements represent a major milestone in the development of Tullow's financial capability. To put in place debt arrangements of this scale, particularly in the current credit environment, is a tremendous achievement. This demonstrates the quality of Tullow's assets as well as the strength of our banking relationships. Combined with our equity placing in January, we are strongly positioned to pursue our current investment plans and longer term growth strategy."

Many small and medium-sized oil producers have had difficulties securing debt to fund field developments and some have been forced to put assets up for sale to meet cash needs.

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