BPZ Resources, Inc. has announced the closing of the initial tranche of senior debt with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in the amount of $15 million. Funding is subject to satisfying certain conditions precedent but is expected within 30 days.
The second tranche of the senior debt, which is currently being negotiated with a large international bank, in the amount of $200 million is expected to close in fourth quarter 2008. The Company will draw down on this facility only when necessary, and is for a term ending in December 2012 at a rate of LIBOR plus 2.75%, currently equivalent to 5.85% based on the current six month LIBOR rate of 3.1%. This facility is subject to a semi-annual borrowing base determination based on the value of oil reserves.
This initial $15 million tranche will be used to continue drilling activities in northwest Peru as well as to make the initial payment to General Electric to purchase three new LM6000 turbines for the Company’s proposed gas-to-power project. The Company expects to close the turbines procurement contract next month and aims for delivery of the turbines by fourth quarter 2009 in order to have the power plant operational in first half of 2010.
Manolo Zúñiga, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "This is a significant milestone for the Company as it represents the first true senior debt the Company has secured. I am proud of the team that put this financing together in a time when financial markets are struggling. This debt comes with excellent terms and gives BPZ the needed capital to continue appraising the assets in our acreage. With $215 million of credit capacity in place, along with Corvina oil sales, BPZ should not have to access the capital markets to fund our upcoming capital expenditures."
Zúñiga continued, "In addition, as we are able to use a portion of this credit facility to secure the turbines for our power plant, we are essentially breaking ground on our gas-to-power project. We have sufficient gas in our Corvina field to supply gas to the power plant for the next 10 plus years, and this closing of the senior debt will now give us the ability to move forward with monetizing that gas. Peru's power demand is growing year-on-year and we expect to be able to increase the size of the plant in the future. The power plant will be located next to an existing substation, thus allowing us to connect to Peru’s national power transmission grid after the power plant is complete."
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