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White & Case Advises on Innovative Hybrid Financing for First Gas to Liquids Plant in Uzbekistan

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised the financiers on a landmark US$2.3 billion senior financing to Uzbekistan GTL LLC (UzGTL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of JSC 'Uzbekneftegaz', the national oil and gas company of Uzbekistan.

"The Uzbek economy has been flourishing following recent economic policy reforms," said White & Case partner Jason Kerr, who co-led the deal team. "This successful multi-source financing with key participants from several jurisdictions across Asia and Europe, as well as proprietary technology provided by Sasol, re-enforces the country's growing reputation as an attractive and stable environment for foreign investment."

The financiers to the transaction are China Development Bank, Xinjiang Branch; Credit Suisse AG; the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM); Gazprombank (Joint Stock Company); Korea Trade Insurance Corporation; Mizuho Bank, Ltd.; MUFG Bank, Ltd.; State Specialized Russian Export-Import Bank (Joint Stock Company); Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Brussels Branch; and Woori Bank.

The large and complex financing combined a sovereign guarantee and certain more typical project finance elements, resulting in an innovative hybrid project financing. The proceeds will be applied by UzGTL towards the development, design, engineering, construction and operation of the first gas-to-liquids ('GTL') plant in the Kashkadarya region of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The UzGTL plant, a key component of the Government of Uzbekistan's goal of energy independence, will have a daily capacity of approximately 37,600 barrels of GTL products. Upon completion, this will be the third largest GTL plant by volume in the world.

The White & Case team that advised on the transaction included partners Jason Kerr, Kamilla Azamat (both London) and Saul Daniel (Houston) and associates Kamran Ahmad and Johanna Hayward (both London).

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