IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced today it is investing in the GAC Group to help the global shipping, logistics and marine services provider acquire new vessels to support offshore oil operations, spurring economic development and better employment opportunities in a number of emerging markets.
Infrastructure is a global priority for IFC and the $35 million loan to GAC will finance the group’s purchase of up to six supply vessels to support offshore oil rigs. Three vessels will operate in Kazakhstan, while the others will operate in Africa and the Middle East. GAC is one of the first international marine operators in the Caspian. The company has more than 10 years of experience in the region, and is today the largest international operator in Turkmenistan.
Anita George, IFC Director for Infrastructure, said, “IFC is pleased to support the GAC Group, a reliable marine services and offshore supply vessel operator, to expand its services in Kazakhstan and in other markets. The project will have significant development impact in terms of greater efficiency, safety and training and transfer of industry best practices to local staff."
Erland Ebbersten, GAC Group Vice President for Europe, Africa, Mediterranean, Black & Caspian Sea, said, “GAC’s expansion underlines the group’s commitment to the Caspian region. We believe we can contribute significantly to development of the energy infrastructure in the Caspian, and we welcome IFC’s support in making this meaningful task possible for us.”
Kazakhstan has been unable to exploit its large reserves of oil and gas largely because of a lack of infrastructure, support services, and equipment. Financing for new vessels and equipment has been difficult in the country and the wider region, as entry and exit costs are high, because the only route out of the area is frozen for up to 6 months of the year. The global financial crisis has exacerbated this challenge.
IFC’s support for GAC will also help improve employment prospects in a number of emerging markets as the majority of the GAC Group’s employees will be hired locally and will benefit from the company’s training programs.