State-owned oil explorer and power supplier Abu Dhabi National Energy (TAQA) has signed an ECA-backed 16-year US$1.4bn equivalent debt facility for the expansion of the Jorf Lasfar coal-fired power complex in Morocco.

A Société Générale CIB banking spokesperson confirms to GTR that Société Générale, Standard Chartered Bank and BNP Paribas are acting as the mandated lead arrangers on the international debt portion of the funding.

Morocco’s Banque Centrale Populaire is the mandated lead arranger for the Moroccan Dirham credit facility.

Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance and Export-Import Bank of Korea will provide direct loans and loan guarantees for more than half of the total project debt. This is the first time the Japanese and Korean export credit agencies have participated in a project finance transaction in Morocco.

TAQA confirms that it has also raised an additional US$100mn-equivalent medium-term debt facility, maturing in 2014.

The 700MW Jorf Lasfar project is the largest coal fired complex in the Mena region and the first independent power producer in Morocco. The project is intended to increase the country’s installed electricity generation capacity to 2,056MW.

The Société Générale spokesperson tells GTR that the Jorf Lasfar Energy Company 5 and 6 expansion project is a key infrastructure project for Morocco’s energy strategy. “The expansion is a significant infrastructure project for Morocco and its government. This is a major transaction and marks a milestone in the Middle East and Morocco.”

Frank Perez, executive officer and TAQA’s head of power and water, adds: “We are excited to play a crucial role in the national energy strategy of a rapidly growing country like Morocco. Despite the ongoing instability in global financial markets we have successfully secured sophisticated international financing arrangements from Asian, European, and Moroccan lenders across multiple currencies.”

The contract for the expansion was awarded to Japan’s Mitsui & Co and Korea’s Daewoo Engineering & Construction.

The expansion units 5 and 6 are scheduled to be commissioned in December 2013 and April 2014 respectively.