(EnergyAsia, May 29 2012, Tuesday) — A consortium of international banks and export credit agencies has agreed to lend a total of US$8.5 billion for the construction of the Australia Pacific LNG joint (APLNG) venture in Queensland state.

The consortium was led by the Export-Import Bank of the US (US EXIM) and The Export-Import Bank of China (China EXIM).
The other lenders include Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Bank of China, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Hong Kong Branch, Bank of Scotland International (Australia), The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, DBS Bank, DNB Bank ASA Singapore Branch, Export Development Canada, HSBC Bank USA, National Association, Mizuho Corporate Bank, National Australia Bank, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Westpac Banking Corporation.

APLNG’s owners Australia’s Origin Energy, US giant ConocoPhillips and China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) are building a massive plant on Curtis Island near Gladstone to convert coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export to Asia.

The finance agreement is subject to a final investment decision on the second stage of the project.

APLNG chairman Grant King, who is also Origin Energy managing director, said:

“Australia Pacific LNG’s ability to secure US$8.5 billion in project finance from Australian and international lenders evidences the strength and quality of the project.

“Substantial progress continues to be made by APLNG across all areas of the CSG-to-LNG project and we remain on track to take a final investment decision on the second phase of the project by mid-2012.

“Given the timing of APLNG’s phase one FID, we believe our project schedules and budgets were based on a solid understanding of current regulatory requirements and the cost environment. We remain confident that the project remains on schedule and budget to deliver first gas in 2015, as expected.”