BPZ Eyes US$217mn Gas-to-Power Project, Expansion


Peru Block Z-1
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Houston-based oil and gas company BPZ Energy (OTC: BPZI) could spend US$217mn on a gas-to-power project in Peru's offshore Z-1 block and the project's expansion phase into Ecuador, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) said in a statement.

IFC could be an equity investor and senior lender for the project, providing up to US$50mn from its own account from a combination of equity, quasi-equity and senior debt, the statement said.

IFC's board will discuss the project and its proposed funding on October 31.

The project also could receive US$100mn through third-party financing, which would be a mixture of IFC B loan facilities sourced from commercial banks and bilateral/regional multilateral funding.

The remaining US$67mn in funding could stem from sponsor equity.

More details regarding financing of the project were not available when BNamericas contacted BPZ on Tuesday.

ADDITIONAL PROJECT DETAILS

The gas-to-power project - excluding the Ecuadorian expansion - would cost some US$174mn.

The project would involve the following: development of the Corvina gas field in block Z-1 offshore Peru's northwestern Tumbes department; the construction of a 10-mile pipeline to a new onshore gas processing facility; and construction of the 160MW Nueva Esperanza power plant.

The gas processing facility is designed to handle overall production rates of 125Mf3/d (3.5Mm3/d), of which roughly 40Mf3/d would be required by BPZ's power plant while 50Mf3/d would be sold to Ecuador for similar power generation developments, the statement said.

The company is evaluating the potential use of any remaining gas including directing it to petrochemicals projects, particularly in the fertilizers area, BPZ business development VP Xavier Suniga told BNamericas, adding he could not disclose company names.

Maximum capacity of the offshore complexes and the pipeline would be 175Mf3/d to allow for future expansion of the gas and power plants. BPZ is considering the addition of a third 80MW turbine to its power plant as a result of Ecuador's recent energy shortage.

Construction of the pipeline, the onshore gas processing plant and power plant is due to begin in early 2007, with first power generation anticipated for October 2007, the statement said.

The estimated US$43mn expansion of the gas-to-power project into Ecuador would entail drilling two additional producing wells and constructing a US$25mn, 40 mile (64km) gas pipeline from its gas-processing plant to southwest Ecuador to supply third-party generators.

BPZ is evaluating possible commercial integration with the Suez Energy Peru unit of Belgium's Suez Energy for the Nueva Esperanza plant, the pipeline to Ecuador and Suez's 180MW thermo project in southern Ecuador city Arenillas.

The Corvina gas field has more than 3 trillion cubic feet of proved, probable and possible natural gas reserves as certified by US consulting firm Gaffney, Cline & Associates.

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