Qatar Petroleum (QP) has launched the commercial bank financing for the Barzan gas project, which needs to raise around $5bn.

An information package on the deal was sent to banks on 18 July, and they have been given until 31 August to respond with commitments.

The financing will have a 16-year tenor and will be split between a commercial bank tranche, a bond issue, direct lending from export credit agencies, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (Jbic) and Export Import bank of Korea (Kexim), and a $400m loan guarantee from Italy’s Sace. There are additional bank-funded tranches, with guarantees from Korea Export Insurance Corporation (KEIC) and Japan’s Nippon Export Insurance Corporation (Nexi). There is no requirement for banks to offer commitments to the ECA guaranteed tranches, according to a banker, who has seen the financing documents.

QP and the US’ ExxonMobil are the sponsors behind the project, while the UK’s Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is financial adviser. The sponsors hope to reach financial close on all the facilities by the end of the year. However, the sponsors do not need to raise all the $5bn at once, giving room to delay the bond issue if the markets are unfavourable later in the year.