BELGRADE (Serbia), August 10 (SeeNews) - Russia's Gazprom Neft said on Friday it has reached an agreement with a group of international banks to take out a 258 million euro ($317 million) loan for the purchase of equipment and services to upgrade the oil refinery of its majority-owned Serbian arm NIS.
The 10-year syndicated unsecured loan facility is supported by an export credit agency, Gazprom Neft said in a press release.
HSBC Bank acted as the loan facility's global arranger, mandated lead arranger and lender. The other mandated lead arrangers and lenders are Ceska Sporitelna and Komercni Banka, both Czech-based. The Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation of the Czech Republic, EGAP, guaranteed the loan.
The agreement is still to be approved by the board of directors of Gazprom Neft.
NIS (www.nis.rs), 56.15%-owned by Gazprom Neft, is one of the largest vertically-integrated energy companies of southeast Europe. It is engaged in the exploration, production and refining of oil and gas, as well as the sale of oil products.
Modernisation of production processes is fundamental to NIS achieving the strategically-important top position in the market for oil products in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the statement said. An essential element of the programme is the modernisation and construction of a facility for light hydrocracking and hydrotreatment at its Pancevo oil refinery.
The new facility will improve the quality of the output. In particular, the refining depth and the yield of light products will increase and the fuel quality and environmental safety will be improved.