An eight-bank club has signed a US$1.6bn term loan for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Company (BTC Co). The financing follows the successful pre-payment of BTC Co’s project finance facilities in September 2015.

The new facility is a five-year amortising term loan maturing in December 2020 and is non-recourse to BTC Co’s shareholders.

The lending club consists of MUFG, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Bank of China, HSBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Société Générale, Citi and BNP Paribas Fortis. Statoil ASA, the parent company of one of BTC Co’s shareholders, will co-lend its pro rata share through an affiliate.

MUFG acted as financial advisor to BTC Co and its shareholders, with Sullivan & Cromwell acting as legal counsel to BTC Co.

BTC Co was established in 2001 to develop the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which became operational in 2006. Since then it has carried a total of 2.28 billion barrels of crude oil to the international market. The pipeline has a capacity of 1.2 million barrels per day and delivers Azeri light crude – mainly from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field – through Georgia to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan for further export via tankers.

GTR first reported on the deal back in 2004, when the financing of the project was originally signed.

Currently, BTC Co’s main shareholders are BP at 30.1%, SOCAR with 25%, Chevron with 8.9%, and Statoil at 8.71% and TP with 6.53%.