BTC PIPELINE PARTNERS AGREE TO BAIL OUT AZERI STATE OIL COMPANY
The bridging loan to Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR irons out an obstacle that could have held up work on the pipeline, which will deliver crude oil from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.
"An agreement has been reached... that the partners will cover SOCAR's share until external financing becomes available," said a spokeswoman for BP in the Azeri capital, Baku.
The cash injection was made necessary because credit from international lenders for the project is going to be disbursed later than expected.
Instead of stopping construction work until the credit became available, other BTC shareholders made their own arrangements to find the cash, but SOCAR said it did not have the funds to do this.
The problem first arose this spring but it has taken until now for BTC shareholders to work out a solution.
The BTC consortium now says the finance from international lenders, which will cover 70 pct of the project's 2.9 bln usd cost, will be available by the end of this year.
SOCAR's bridging loan is being provided by BTC shareholders BP, TPAO, Statoil ASA, Unocal, Itochu, Delta Hess, and Inpex.
Another three of the project's shareholders -- ENI Agip, TotalFinaElf and ConocoPhillips -- declined to lend any money, SOCAR President Natiq Aliyev has been quoted as saying.