Oryx GTL loan prepares for targeted syndication

10 February 2003
All the financing documents for the Oryx GTLdebt package were signed on 31 January, a day after Paris-based Technip-Coflexipsigned the $675 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build the 34,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) plant at Ras Laffan. The signing of the $700 million loan, the first-ever commercial financing for a gas-to-liquids (GTL) project, paves the way for a targeted general syndication to be launched. Oryx GTL is a 51:49 joint venture between Qatar Petroleum (QP)and South Africa's Sasol(MEED 31:1:03; 25:10:02).

The information memorandum for the syndication is due to be sent out to interested banks on 18 February, while roadshows are scheduled to be held in London and Dubai in the last week of February. Signing is expected by the end of March. Banks will be offered tickets ranging from $10 million-40 million in size.

Given that a lead arranging group of 15 international banks was appointed in mid-October for the 14-year loan, a relatively small amount is expected to go for syndication. 'Syndication is really the icing on the cake,' says a banker involved in the transaction. 'In one sense, it does not really need to go to syndication since all the lead arrangers are already under their hold targets.

However, it is a way of giving those banks that have an expressed an interest in coming into the deal the opportunity to be involved in a QP and a GTL project.'

Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp)and Gulf International Bankare the joint regional bookrunners. The international bookrunner is Credit Agricole Indosuez.

Royal Bank of Scotlandis the financial adviser for the Oryx GTL scheme, while the legal adviser is Linklaters. The lenders' technical consultant is the UK's Nexant Chem Systems, while the lenders' legal counsel is Skadden Arps.

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