FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 30, 2002
Bo Ollison in Houston (202) 320-2589 or Linda Formella in Washington, D.C. (202) 565-3200
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with three large private Russian oil companies to support their purchase of U.S. equipment and services to develop Russia's vast oil and gas reserves.
Ex-Im Bank Vice Chairman Eduardo Aguirre, Jr., signed the MOUs with OAO LukOil, OAO NK Yukos, and AO Siberian Oil Company (Sibneft), during the U.S.-Russia Commercial Energy Summit in Houston, which was sponsored by the Department of Commerce. The MOUs express Ex-Im Bank's willingness to extend up to $100 million in medium- and long-term financing to each of the three companies.
Today's actions are in accordance with President Bush's National Energy Policy, which calls for diversification of oil and other fuel sources by strengthening global alliances and international relationships, Aguirre said. Russia has about 5% of the world's proven oil reserves and 33% of the world's natural gas reserves, but substantial infrastructure development is needed to further develop these resources.
Aguirre hailed the three Russian companies with which he signed the MOUs for working towards corporate practices that will attract more investment and maximize shareholder value, citing including good corporate governance, greater transparency, and protection of minority shareholder rights. We can work with them to broaden our activity in this sector, he said.
These MOUs underscore the Administration's commitment to fostering a dialogue between Russian and U.S. energy firms and seeking expanded business opportunities, said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development Linda Conlin, who joined Aguirre at the signing.
Since 1993, Ex-Im Bank has financing U.S. capital equipment and services under its Oil and Gas Framework Agreement (OGFA) to refurbish and develop existing facilities of Russian oil companies. In the past nine years, the Bank has authorized financing to support approximately $1 billion of U.S. exports under the OGFA framework, which provides for repayment by securing project revenues in escrow accounts.
The MOUs signed in Houston will widen the range of financing options for purchases of U.S. goods and services by facilitating Ex-Im Bank's medium- and long-term loans and guarantees to Russia's energy sector.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to developing markets, by providing loans, guarantees and export credit insurance. In fiscal year 2001, Ex-Im Bank supported $12.5 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.