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The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed an untied loan agreement with Mexican state oil company Pemex totalling the equivalent of US$500mn in yen.

The loan is for 13 years with a three-year grace period.

The loan is co-financed with private financial institutions, and Mizuho Corporate Bank is managing the credit. JBIC also provided a guarantee for the portion covered by the private institutions.

The loan will finance five natural gas projects in Crudo Ligero Marino, Ixtal-Manik, Macuspana, Costero Terrestre and San Manuel under Pemex’s strategic programme to develop multiple gas and oilfields along the Gulf of Mexico.

Mexico’s domestic demand for natural gas is projected to grow at an average rate of more than 7% annually through 2011.

Japanese firms participating in natural gas-fired power projects in Mexico will also benefit from the supply of gas from these plants.

As the Mexican government plans to construct more natural gas-fired power plants to meet growing power demand, the loan will lead to greater business opportunities for Japanese firms participating in such projects as investors or exporters of equipment.

The loan will also contribute to improving the business infrastructure for more than 250 Japanese affiliates operating in Mexico.