Oil Companies Refuse BTC Bridging Loan

Total and ConocoPhillips have refused to provide a bridging loan to SOCAR for work on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Azerbaijan's state-oil company President Natig Aliyev said this week.

Aliyev told reporters that, whereas other members of the BTC consortium had agreed to fund SOCAR's contribution until loans from international financial institutions arrive later in the year, Total and ConocoPhillips had refused. Inpex and ENI refused at first and then later relented.

"Total refused, saying it was none of its business, and that if the government of Azerbaijan didn't have enough money to continue the project it should declare its default," Aliyev said.

SOCAR needs to contribute between $160 million and $180 million to the BTC consortium, which is building the pipeline. The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.95 billion. BTC's shareholders are to fund 30% of construction, with the remainder coming from debt.

Participants in the project are BP with 30.1%; SOCAR with 25%; Unocal with 8.9%; Statoil with 8.71%; TPAO with 6.53%; ENI with 5% and Total with 5%: Itochu with 3.4%; Inpex with 2.5%; Amerada Hess with 2.36% and ConocoPhillips with the remaining 2.5%.