Kuwait's Kufpec eyes $750m loan deal

Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company said to seek loan to help fund operations

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (Kufpec) has picked five banks to arrange a $750m, five-year loan to help fund its general business operations, three banking sources have told Reuters.

Kufpec has chosen Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, HSBC Holdings, JP Morgan Chase, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and Royal Bank of Scotland to arrange the loan, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. NBK and JP Morgan are coordinating.

Kufpec is owned by state oil firm Kuwait Petroleum Company and has an international focus.

A Kufpec spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

A period of marketing to other banks is expected to start shortly. Should the deal commence syndication in the next few days, it is expected to close by the end of the first quarter, one of the sources, a regional banker, said.

Kufpec has a $320m loan which matures in May. That facility was funded by ten banks led by Citigroup and NBK in 2008 and paid a margin of 100 basis points over the London interbank offered rate (Libor), according to Thomson Reuters data.

The new loan will not refinance this facility, which will be retired when it reaches maturity, a second banker, based in London, said.

In December, British oil major BP said Kufpec would acquire a 34.3 percent stake in the Yacheng gas field in the South China Sea for $308m in cash. The deal is expected to complete in the second half of 2013.

Kufpec, which is active in exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia, has also been linked with taking over part of a huge oil block in South Sudan previously controlled by France's Total.

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