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EX-IM BANK GIVES PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF $1 BILLION CREDIT TO SUPPORT U.S. EXPORTS TO SONATRACH OF ALGERIA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 26, 2003

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

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The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has approved a preliminary commitment for a $1 billion line of credit to support the purchase of U.S. equipment and services by Sonatrach, Algeria's state-owned petroleum company.

Ex-Im Bank's board of directors approved the preliminary commitment to help finance several Sonatrach oil and gas development and optimization projects. Individual credits for projects under the line will be considered separately by Ex-Im Bank's board for final approval after a technical and environmental review of each project. As required by its charter, Ex-Im Bank will notify Congress of the preliminary commitment prior to approving the first individual project under the line.

Sonatrach has been a partner of Ex-Im Bank for more than 30 years, and Algeria is an important market for U.S. exporters, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman Philip Merrill. This transaction would support Algeria's economic development, trade relations between our two countries, and U.S. exports and jobs.

Sonatrach is planning a series of large-scale projects to rehabilitate oil and gas fields and expand pipelines as part of its capital expenditure program for the next five years. Sonatrach would be the primary source of repayment under the Ex-Im Bank credit line; its obligations would not be guaranteed by the Algerian government.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export credit insurance, and direct loans. In fiscal year 2003, Ex-Im Bank authorized financing to support approximately $14.2 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.