Tunis, Tunisia - The European Investment Bank ( EIB) on Tuesday granted Tunisia a loan, worth 150 million Euros, for the Tunisian Oil Company (ETAP) to partly explore natural gas and petroleum deposits in the southern part of the country, Mohamed Akrout, ETAP's CEO, said.
The loan is for the realization of an energy project, costing between US$ 800 million and US$ 850 million, and driven in equal shares by ETAP and the Austrian company, OMV, he said.
The project, which will be operational in 2016, will create about 1,500 jobs in the construction phase and 100 jobs during the operational phase.
The production capacity of the project is estimated at 2.7 million m3 of gas and 7,000 barrels of oil per day.
The Vice-President of EIB, Philippe de Fontaine Vive, said that the loan would help improve the operating conditions at these fields and enable the production of energy in harsh environmental conditions.
According to him, the project will enable Tunisia to reduce the importation of energy resources which will positively improve the country’s balance of payments.
The Minister of Industry, Energy and Mines, Kamel Ben Naceur, stressed the importance of the project that will contribute to energy security which is seen as a major vector for economic growth.
He said the grant of credit on favorable terms demonstrates the confidence of the EIB in the new Tunisia.