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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 23.05.2018, 21:48

Eesti Energia: USD 2.1 b Jordan oil shale project secures funding

BC, Tallinn, 16.03.2017.Print version
Attarat Power Company (APCO) has announced that it has reached financial close for the 2.1-billion-U.S.-dollar project to build the first oil shale fired power station and open cast mine in Jordan, reports Eesti Energi.

With the financial close, Eesti Energia has completed the sell-down of its previous 65% shareholding in APCO to 10% , Eesti Energia told the London stock exchange.

Eesti Energia will receive a combined amount of 50.4 mln U.S. dollars from the sale of shares and as return of the project development costs.

APCO is now owned 45% by YTL Power International of Malaysia, 45% by Guangdong Yudean Group Co. Limited of China and 10% by Eesti Energia.

The shareholders have committed to provide base shareholder funding of up to 528 mln U.S. dollars to fund the project.

The APCO project represents the biggest ever one-off investment in oil shale industry and the biggest foreign investment in Jordan.

"Attracting 2.1 bln dollars in financing from the world's biggest banks and other shareholders confirms that the project is well developed and managed. With the transaction, Eesti Energia will earn back the investments made in the development so far in the amount of 30.6 mln dollars and additionally a profit of 19.8 mln dollars from the sale of the shares. The completion of a project of this scale will definitely help to open doors for Estonia when it comes to similar projects in technology transfer in the future," the CEO of Eesti Energia, Hando Sutter, said.

Sutter said the project dates back to 1993, when Estonia's then President Lennart Meri discussed with King Hussein of Jordan possible cooperation in the field of oil shale. Eesti Energia has been involved in developing the Jordan electricity project for eight years.

"On behalf of the government of Jordan, I congratulate Attarat Power Company on the financial close for this strategic and unique project. This project is part of the plans of the government of Jordan to tap into local sources of energy such as oil shale and thereby to diversify the kingdom's energy portfolio," Jordan's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Ibrahim Saif said.

The director of the project at Eesti Energia, Andres Anijalg, said that, among other things, the company has conducted geological surveys of oil shale and groundwater, helped draft legislation for the use of oil shale in Jordan, conducted an environmental impact assessment and obtained necessary approvals. In addition the company has conducted incineration trials with Jordanian oil shale, prepared the establishment of an open pit mine and construction of a power station, conducted large scale international tenders, concluded agreements for building the power plant, conduct of mining operations, development of infrastructure, boring of borewells for groundwater and for the conduct of construction supervision. With the Jordanian government a 30-year agreement on the purchase of electricity at a fixed price has been concluded and rights to the use of land obtained.

Eesti Energia signed at the beginning of May 2016 an agreement to sell 45% of the shares in its Jordan oil shale power plant and extraction project to the Chinese state-owned company Yudean Group and will remain a minority shareholder in the project with a holding of 10%. Under the agreement, co-developer YTL International Berhad will increase its stake from 30 to 45% and minority shareholder Near East Investments will exit the project.

The project, which represents an investment of 2.1 bln U.S. dollars, was to be financed by Bank of China and Industrial Commercial Bank of China. A guarantee to the loan was to be provided by the Chinese export credit agency Sinosure. The implementation of the agreement was pending on the approval of Chinese financiers.

Once the agreement on building a 554 megawatt oil shale-fired power plant in Jordan is finalized, Guangdong Engineering Power Corporation will start with construction.

Eesti Energia has so far invested approximately 25 mln euros in the project and expects to exit it without a loss, CEO Hando Sutter has earlier said. According to Sutter, the exact numbers will be made public after the final financing arrangement has been agreed.

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