IFC to increase investments in oil and gas in sub-Sahara Africa

oilInternational Finance Corp., the World Bank Group’s private-sector lending arm, plans to increase spending on sub-Saharan Africa’s oil and gas industry and sees “significant” opportunities in Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania.

“Africa is a focus region for us,” Kamal Dorabawila, the IFC head of oil and gas in Africa, said in an interview from Cape Town today.

The lending arm has invested in $400 million to Africa, about 19 percent of its global oil and gas total, he said.

Ghana expects to pump 500,000 barrels of oil a day by 2014 as it seeks to boost supplies to the domestic market and become Africa’s newest crude exporter. Tullow Oil Plc. has drilled 25 wells in the Lake Albert Rift Basin in Uganda since January 2006, of which 24 found oil and gas.

IFC, Standard Chartered Bank Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Societe Generale SA, Absa Group Ltd. and Calyon are among financial institutions that helped Kosmos Energy LLC get a $750 million loan to fund Ghana’s Jubilee Field phase one development.

Jubilee “is a world class oil discovery” and Ghana’s offshore is a highly prospective area, Dorabawila said.

Ghana is seeking private investors to build three or four refineries, with at least one being located in the country’s Western region, the site of the Jubilee offshore oil field.

Lack of infrastructure development is the main impediment to making projects commercial, he said.

Source: Bloomberg

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