(EnergyAsia, November 23 2012, Friday) — The Australia Pacific Liquefied Natural Gas (APLNG) Pty Ltd consortium has begun drawing on its US$8.5 billion funding facility to develop its massive A$23 billion project in Queensland state, said operator and 37.5% shareholder Australia’s Origin Energy. (US$1=A$0.96).

In a statement, Origin Energy said all conditions for the drawdown had been met for what it claims is the largest financing facility ever secured in Australia.

The consortium, whose other members are US independent ConocoPhillips (37.5%) and China’s Sinopec (25%), is processing coal seam gas (CSM) reserves in the Surat and Bowen Basins to LNG for export to Asia. APLNG will also be developing a 530 km transmission pipeline and a multi-train LNG facility on Curtis Island.

Origin said the project finance facility will specifically fund the downstream parts of the project, including the liquefaction facilities on Curtis Island near Gladstone in Queensland. The consortium secured the facility in May from the US Export-Import Bank, the Export-Import Bank of China, and a syndicate of Australian and international commercial banks for 16 and 17 year terms.