Algeria’s Sonatrach secures $250m from Apicorp for first overseas acquisition

Loans to be used to carry out maintenance works on Sonatrach’s refinery in Italy

An employee walks in front of a gas flare at the In Salah Gas (ISG) Krechba Project, run by Sonatrach, British Petroleum (BP), and StatoilHydro, in the Sahara desert near In Salah, Algeria, on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008. From produced gas, the carbon capture plant, the largest and first of its kind, removes annually the carbon dioxide emissions equivalent of 200,000 automobiles running 30,000 kilometers. The CO2 is then reinjected into a reservoir instead of the atmosphere, with the intention of storing it perpetually. Photographer: Adam Berry/Bloomberg News
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The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), a multilateral lender, agreed to two loan facilities worth a combined $250 million (Dh918.1m) with Sonatrach Petroleum Investment Corporation, a subsidiary of Sonatrach, the Algerian national oil company.

The first loan, worth $100m, will be used to fund the maintenance of the Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana complex in Sicily, which Sonatrach acquired from Exxon Mobil in December 2018, Apicorp said on Monday. The second loan, a $150m syndicated letter of credit, is for the purchase of Saudi Aramco crude oil by Sonatrach Raffineria.

“Apicorp is committed to supporting and financing Sonatrach in its first overseas acquisition," said Ahmed Ali Attiga, chief executive of Apicorp. "This is part of our mission to continue playing an active role in the development of our member countries’ broader energy sector and contribute to diversification and geographic expansion.”

State-owned Sonatrach, is the largest company in Africa, and owns about 80 percent of total hydrocarbon production in Algeria, which has about 12.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. Algeria is Opec's largest member country by total landmass and the largest in Africa. It produces an estimated 1 million barrels per day of crude and 135 billion cubic meters a year of gas. Oil and gas account for 94 per cent of the country's total exports and 60 per cent of state revenues.

“As a trusted financial partner to the region’s energy sector, we remain steadfast in our mission to continue exploring opportunities in Algeria and other member states, and provide solutions that drive innovation and bolster the sustainability of this vital industry,” Mr Attiga said.

Sonatrach Raffineria is Sonatrach’s first overseas acquisition. The integrated refinery complex, which has access to major global shipping routes through the Mediterranean Sea, produces a wide range of downstream products including gasoline, distillates, fuel oils, lubricants, asphalts and chemicals.

"Our strategic investment in international refining through Sonatrach Raffinera Italiana will contribute to meeting local energy demand and address imbalances in petroleum supplies," said Nordine Bouteldja, managing director of Sonatrach Petroleum Investment Corporation.

“This is of key importance to our efforts to diversify our energy assets and secure reliable supplies of crude oil, as part of our drive to meet local energy demand and address imbalances in petroleum supplies to the domestic market.”

Allen & Overy was the legal adviser to Apicorp on the transactions.