JBIC Denies Valcor Financing

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has not received any request from Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA to provide financing for the second stage of the Valcor upgrade project at the Puerto La Cruz refinery, a bank official told BNamericas.

Caracas newspaper El Nacional reported that JBIC is lining up a US$220mn loan for the upgrade at the plant in eastern Venezuela's Anzoategui state, and quoted refinery manager Nelson Martinez as saying the terms of the loan were "good."

But the article "is a total surprise," said JBIC's second representative in its Bogota office, Kenji Mochida. "We haven't presented any conditions, there is no official consideration of the loan, we have not received any formal request from PDVSA [for the loan]," he added. Nelson Martinez could not be reached Wednesday.

The second stage will add 35,000 barrels a day (b/d) capacity to the 200,000b/d refinery, and will allow for the production of higher quality and cleaner gasoline and diesel for the export market. JBIC organized US$500mn financing for the first stage of the Valcor project in 2000, supplying 70% of the funds itself, with a syndicate of eight Japanese financial institutions providing the balance. Stage one is scheduled for mechanical completion at the end of this year, El Nacional reported. Meanwhile, Puerto La Cruz will restart operations of a 15,000b/d catalytic cracker Wednesday, Dow Jones reported, quoting PDVSA's Martinez.

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