In continuation of its financial intermediation role, Access Bank said it has granted a $150million Senior Secured Term Loan to FHN 26, a wholly indigenous affiliate of the Afren Group focused on exploration and production of hydrocarbon resources. A statement yesterday said the deal signed in Lagos , was a testament to the bank's contribution to the development of the Nigerian oil and gas sector as well as its commitment to empowerment of stakeholders in critical sectors of the economy. The Group Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank , Mr. Herbert Wigwe , who described the deal as another laudable contribution by the bank to funding of the acquisition of an oil and gas assets in line with the local content aspirations of the federal government, commended the management of FHN 26 Limited for their performance over the past three years. He also reaffirmed the bank's resolve to providing the required funding for economic transformation initiatives. Speaking on the capacity of Nigerian banks to fund big ticket transactions, Wigwe said the financial institutions are better positioned to facilitate and execute large deals required for mineral rights acquisition which hitherto were the exclusive right of foreign banks. He also enjoined players in the oil and gas sector to tow the path of sustainable growth through enhanced technical capacity to ensure the industry remained credible enough to continue to attract significant level of funding required to support growth. Leading the FHN team, its Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Ahonsi Unuigbe, expressed delight at the success of the transaction, noting that it came on the heels of increasing appetite of indigenous companies for asset portfolios expansion through anticipated Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) marginal fields bid rounds and the on-going shell onshore asset divestments. He expressed satisfaction over the flexibility shown by Access Bank in arranging the deal and urged more Nigerian banks to emulate the bank in order to further accelerate development in the country's fast growing indigenous upstream oil sector. Also, an Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mr. Femi Bajomo noted that with the facility, the company would have additional capacity to fund its capital expenditure in the coming years, particularly with respect to the drilling of new wells, which would result in a significant increase in its production capacity over the next 18 months.
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