French banks to finance MIDOR Refinery expansion

MIDOREgypt’s oil refinery MIDOR will finance its planned expansion, borrowing $1.2 billion from French lenders Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas, a loan that will be guaranteed by the Italian central bank and the Italian export development authority, oil minister Tarek El-Molla told Egyptian state news daily Al-Ahram.

MIDOR signed in April two deals worth $1.4 billion with US-based engineering company UOP to design the expansion of the refinery, raising its capacity to 160,000 barrels per day from 100,000 barrels per day.

The project, which starts this year and will span over three years, would allow Egypt to cut its petroleum product imports and export refined oil products, raising sources of foreign currency, according to Al-Ahram.

The value of monthly oil imports fell almost 40 percent to around $400 million from $650 million due to the decline in global prices, El-Molla told Reuters earlier in the day. Imports of gas remain at $250 million monthly, he added.

Egyptian banks’ access to foreign currency has declined in the past years due to the fall in tourism, Foreign Direct Investments and net official transfers in the banking system in the aftermath of the 2011 uprising that toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s net foreign reserves stood at $16.4 billion at the end of November.

(Source: Ahram Online)

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