• Exim Bank is has been unable to engage in new business or process applications since 1 July
  • Exim Bank is one of the project’s main sources of finance
  • Carbon Holdings says if problems persist at US Exim Bank there may be negative repercussions for the $7bn project

Egyptian petrochemicals company Carbon Holdings says that its $7bn Tahrir Petrochmicals Complex (TPC) project is still on-track, despite ongoing problems at the Export-Import Bank of the US (US Exim Bank), one of TPC’s main providers of finance.

US Exim Bank has been unable to engage in new business or process applications since 1 July.

“During this period while US Exim is not able to work on new business Carbon Holdings is looking to finalise negotiations with the EPC Contractors for the $7bn Tahrir Petrochmicals Complex (TPC), which has meant that overall project development schedule has not been impacted,” said Mohamed Helmy, the company’s director of corporate finance and investor relations.

“As we have been able to focus on other areas of project development the lapse in authorisation for US-Exim has not had a significant impact on the TPC project, although the longer this situation continues there will inevitably be repercussions both on our project and on other projects throughout the region,” Helmy added.

With the US Congress and Senate returning for their autumn sessions in September, the business community is hopeful that a renewal of Exim Bank’s authorisation can be passed. But right-wing politicians continue to oppose the bank’s existence.

“Carbon Holdings and all of its partners have no doubts that US-Exim’s authorisation will be passed and while we remain hopeful this can be done in September no one believes this is certain and we may have to wait until October,” Helmy said.

The TPC scheme is Egypt’s biggest-ever petrochemical project and includes the construction of a 1.5 million tonne-a-year (t/y) ethylene cracker and a polyethylene facility with capacity of about 1.4 million t/y.

Carbon Holdings started work on TPC one year before the 2011 uprising. Originally, it was expected to be completed in 2017, but due to delays caused by the revolution and subsequent turmoil, the main construction contractors have yet to deploy.

Carbon Holdings is currently targeting commissioning in 2020.

The project is set to be financed with assistance from four national export credit agencies:

  • Export-Import Bank of the US (Exim Bank);
  • Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim);
  • Korea Trade Insurance Company (Ksure); and
  • Italian Export Credit Agency (Sace).

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