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Banks appointed for project.

LONDON: A Total-led group has appointed the arranging banks to lead the financing backing Yemen's liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the country's first big project financing, the lenders said yesterday.

The French oil company, is the main sponsor for the $4 billion liquefaction plant in the port of Balhaf on the southern coast of Yemen. It will be able to produce 6.7 million tonnes per year of LNG.

The project financing comprises a $1.44bn senior limited recourse facility - so-called because lenders are repaid from project cash flows and have limited recourse to the sponsors' balance sheets - as well as a $1.2bn loan that has a guarantee from Total.

The $1.44bn facility is split between a bank-funded term loan, and a further three bank-funded loans with guarantees from one of three export credit agencies - Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (Nexi) and France's Coface.

In addition, Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) and Kexim are together expected to provide direct loans of $360m.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, ING, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale and SMBC are initial mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners on both the $1.44bn and the $1.2bn facilities, with Calyon joining the lenders on the Total-guaranteed loan.

Yemen LNG has agreed three 20-year sales contracts for its output with Korea Gas, Total Gas & Power and Suez LNG Trading.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 1, 2008
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