by Nick Flitterman

The financing for the US$ 5 billion refinery and upgrade project in Cartagena, Colombia being undertaken by Refinería de Cartagena S.A. (Reficar) was signed on 31 December 2011. Reficar is a majority owned and controlled independent subsidiary of Ecopetrol S.A., Colombia’s national oil company.

US Ex-Im Bank provided a direct loan and loan guarantees totalling US$ 2.84 billion as part of a US$ 3.5 billion loan package. Other debt facilities included loans guaranteed by SACE (US$ 210 million) and EKN (US$ 100 million) and a commercial loan facility provided by 4 commercial banks.

The financing was voted Latin American Downstream Oil & Gas Deal of the Year 2011 by Project Finance Magazine.

The refinery expansion will enable the processing of a greater volume of heavier Colombian crudes that are now being produced as part of Ecopetrol’s successful growth strategy, as well as meeting international fuel quality standards. Reficar will supply increased quantities of petroleum products to both domestic and export markets.

Geoff Knox, Portland’s Head of Energy & Mining, said: “Portland has had the opportunity to advise Ex-Im Bank throughout the structuring and negotiation of this landmark transaction. We are pleased to be able to support Ex-Im Bank in Colombia, which is a major strategic market for the agency.”

For further information, contact geoff.knox@portlandadvisers.com

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