Accugas Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seven Energy, recently closed on a $225 Medium Term Project Finance Facility for its Central Processing Facility (CPF) and second gas pipeline project in Akwa Ibom. The proceeds of this landmark transaction will be used for construction of the CPF and gas pipeline to provide gas to Ibom Power, located in Akwa Ibom and NDPHC’s Calabar power plant located in Cross River.
The project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2014, will fulfil the gas supply contract obligations to both the Ibom and Calabar power plants, the objective of which is to satisfy the growing gas demands from power plants and industrial users following the ongoing reforms in the power sector.
FCMB Capital Markets Limited, one of the Mandated Lead Arrangers (MLA) for the Facility, was in addition to being appointed MLA was also mandated as Technical Bank with Stanbic IBTC Plc. FCMB Capital Markets and Stanbic IBTC are the only Nigerian banks with demonstrated ability to identify and allocate the technical risks associated with such complex projects as both institutions previously performed the same role for Nigeria’s first senior secured Reserve-Based Lending financed by Nigerian banks.
Speaking after the transaction signing ceremony in Lagos, FCMB Capital Market’s Executive Director, Mr. Tolu Osinibi explained that the Bank’s commitment to the Facility was a demonstration of its commitment to the development of Nigeria’s power sector. He added that “the Technical Bank team ensured that all the technical issues related to this novel project have been identified and addressed and that he is confident that the project will be completed on schedule and it will add significant value to the country’s power generation capacity”. In closing, Mr. Osinibi commended the efforts of the Technical Bank team in ensuring due diligence in the transaction was timely concluded.
In transactions of this nature, technical banks are primarily responsible for identifying and ensuring that all technical-related issues are satisfactorily addressed on behalf of the syndicate of lenders. For example, in this transaction, the Technical Banks worked with a competent Technical Consultant to ensure that the CPF and pipeline infrastructure are built to specifications and have the required regulatory approvals. They also ensured that the gas fields had sufficient gas to meet Accugas obligations to the two power plants. This was required to provide the much-needed confidence to the lending banks, namely FCMB, First Bank, UBA and Stanbic IBTC.
In the same vein, the Vice President, Project and Structured Finance, of FCMB Capital Markets, Mr. Robert Grant, described the facility as, “a landmark transaction, which supports the federal government’s gas-to-power initiative of providing gas to existing power plants to immediately increase total output”. He pointed out that “this further demonstrates that private sector investments will be instrumental to further development of the Power Sector Reform value chain post the Bureau of Public Enterprises privatisation exercise”.
The Chief Executive Officer of Seven Energy, Mr. Philip Ihenacho, thanked the entire team for the laudable work done to bring this material transaction to a close. He stated that, “the successful signing of the Accugas financing clearly shows the confidence that the financial institutions have in Accugas and Seven Energy, as well as the prospects for the Nigerian gas market”.