(EnergyAsia, January 2 2013, Wednesday) — UK gas giant BG Group PLC said it has obtained a US$1.8 billion loan from the US Export-Import Bank to purchase the services of American companies for the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia’s Queensland state.

The loan is part of the company’s attempt to diversify funding sources in the face of rising cost, particularly in Australia where developers of LNG and other natural resource projects have been hit by rising labour and material expenditure and the weakening US dollar. Last May, the company raised its estimate for the cost of developing the Queensland Curtis Island LNG project from US$15 billion to US$20.4 billion.

BG Group, which operates and owns the majority of the Curtis Island project, expects to start up LNG export to Asia in 2014. In October, it sold a minority stake to China’s CNOOC Ltd.

In November, the company secured a new US$3 billion syndicated facility, taking the total of undrawn committed bank borrowing facilities to $5.2 billion. In September, BG Group reached an agreement with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to fund its efforts to support the long-term supply of LNG to Japan.