By Oke Peter
A leading pan-African multilateral development finance institution and project developer, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), is set to provide a US$28 million subordinated loan facility for the development of Topic SA’s (Topic) Halk El Menzel offshore oil concession block (The Helm Project) in Northern Tunisia.
The Subordinated Loan Note has a 30-month tenor and will ensure the project reaches first oil production by January 2018.
Topic is a prominent independent energy company with a primary focus on oil and gas exploration and production, established in 2000 by the Tunisian energy conglomerate, the Toumi Group.
Topic’s strong shareholder base include the International Finance Corporation, Sarost Group, Banque de L’Habitat Group, Société Tunisienne de Banque, and the Toumi Group.
Commenting on the investment, President and Chief Executive Officer, AFC, Andrew Alli, said: “AFC has a long-standing commitment to building and developing African economies that require investment in key economic sectors. AFC is delighted to be investing in Tunisia’s natural resources sector and supporting the creation of high skilled jobs.
“Tunisia has made significant progress by embarking on reforms that will drive private-sector growth and encourage investment. AFC looks forward to continuing to support the country as it enters the next growth chapter.”
The Helm Project is a low cost development capex project covering an offshore area of 570 square km in the gulf of Hammamet in northern Tunisia, a significant petroleum province. The total estimated project cost is US$157.5 million.
The funding required to achieve first oil will be used for transport, installation, start up and commissioning, first well drilling, including acquisition of critical production installations, floating storage and offloading units; repair, upgrade of the existing buoy, supply of topside facilities and completion of a wellhead platform.
AFC, established to provide project structuring expertise and risk capital, has a long standing history of investing in Africa’s natural resources. Despite the industry challenges faced in the last few years, AFC remains an active investor, with recent landmark investments recorded.
AFC’s investment in the natural resources sector is based on a long-term view and as such, the Corporation continues to seek investments in high quality projects, such as the Helm project with strong technical and commercial fundamentals,