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Fidelity Bank wins African oil, gas deal of the year award

By The Citizen
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The Project Finance Magazine, a publication of the Euromoney Plc, UK has adjudged Fidelity Bank Plc the winner of The African Oil & Gas Deal of the Year 2012.

The award recognises achievement and excellence in getting projects built, bought or refinanced. Fidelity alongside GTBank, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank and other international banks and legal firms won the award with the $1.5 billion syndicated financing for the 2012 Drilling Programme of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/ExxonMobil Joint Venture through their Special Purpose Vehicle RDP Funding Limited.

This, the organisers said, was the most interesting financing to emerge not only from Nigeria but also from the African upstream sector. 'The $1.5billion deal builds on the JVs earlier receivables-based deals, including the $600 million satellite field financing, which closed in 2005 and backed the development of live specified fields, and the $1.42NGLII refinancing which closed in January 2011.'

Whereas the satellite and NGLII financings related to discrete assets and will be ring fenced from the latest deal, the 2012 drilling programme financing is designed to back a more general programme of drilling at all the four oil mining leases that it owns. 'All of these deals demonstrated that there was healthy bank appetite for uncovered commitments to the joint venture given the operational history,' Project Finance said.

Receiving the award, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Reginald Ihejiahi, said that the award further demonstrated the bank's commitment to the development of the Nigerian economy. Ihejiahi, who was represented by the General Manager, Operations, Sam Obijiaku, specifically noted that Fidelity Bank had enhanced market competitiveness through improved infrastructure, quality service delivery system and increased nationwide spread. He explained that Fidelity Bank had garnered a great deal of experience from its past involvements in oil and gas contract finance and promised to deploy this wealth of experience in the development of the local economy.

The Project Finance Awards, started 14 years ago, are for innovation, deal repeatability, best practice, problem solving, risk mitigation, value for money and speed of delivery in the financing of large and small infrastructure projects. The organisers identify the deals that serve as benchmark in their respective markets, in their terms, pricing or in introducing lenders to new asset types.

Other winners from other countries included Development Bank of South Africa for the funding of the R4 billion 50MW concentrating solar power plant located in Northern Cape province, South Africa, Standard Chartered Bank for financing the $2 billion Deep mining expansion to Zambian copper mine and Lloyds which won the European IPP Deal of the Year 2012 Award for the $1 billion 884.6MW gas-fired project located near Manchester, UK.