ELNG wraps up train 1

19 December 2003
The first train of the Egyptian LNG (ELNG)project at Idku has reached financial close following the signing of all three tranches in the $1,150 million project finance facility in London on 19 December. The signing clears the way for commercial financing of the estimated $550 million second train.

'We had expected to sign the transactions sometime around June, and the delay was mainly about disturbances in the shareholding structure after Edison[of Italy] sold its stake to Petronas[of Malaysia],' says one of the lead arrangers. 'Also, following the decision to go ahead with train 2, we had to incorporate some new aspects with regard to due diligence.'

The meeting was attended by representatives of the 12 mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) of the $550 million international commercial tranche, as well as some of the banks involved in the first phase of syndication. The participants in the first phase, which raised $155 million, are Arab Bank, Dexia Bank, ING Bank, KBC Bankand Unicredito Italiano. The launch of the second phase of syndication is expected in January (MEED 8:8:03; 20:12:02).

Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), HSBC, Societe Generaleand Royal Bank of Scotland are joint bookrunners on the international tranche. Credit Lyonnaisis the technical and modelling bank. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishiis the facility agent and global co-ordinator. Royal Bank of Canadais the documentation bank and ANZ Investment Bankis in charge of insurance. The other four lead arrangers are IntesaBci, Instituto San Paolo di Torino, WestLBand Bayerische Landesbank.

The lead arrangers of the $150 million domestic tranche are Commercial International Bank, Misr International Bankand National Societe Generale Bank, while the remaining $450 million of financing will be provided by a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The ELNG company for train 1 is owned by BG Groupof the UK, Petronas, Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Companyand Gaz de France (GdF), which is the first train offtaker. The project's first train, under construction at Idku, is scheduled to start production in 2005. Its output of 3.6 million tonnes a year will be purchased by GdF. ELNG says it aims to have a second train in operation in 2006, with BG acting as principal offtaker.

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