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USA: Cheniere to Raise Up to USD 4 Billion in Debt for Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project

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Cheniere Energy Partners said today that it has engaged eight financial institutions to act as Joint Lead Arrangers to assist in the structuring and arranging of up to $4 billion of debt facilities.

The proceeds will be used to pay for costs of development and construction of the liquefaction project at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, to fund the acquisition of the Creole Trail Pipeline from Cheniere Energy, and for general business purposes. As previously disclosed, estimated capital costs before financing for the first two trains of the liquefaction project of $4.5 billion to $5.0 billion are expected to be funded from a combination of debt and equity financings.

The eight Arrangers are The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, HSBC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Morgan Stanley, RBC Capital Markets, and SG Americas Securities, LLC.

Obtaining financing is one of the last steps to complete before proceeding with the construction of the first two liquefaction trains being developed at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal,” said Charif Souki, Chairman and CEO. “We have engaged an experienced group of financial institutions as our core banking group and look forward to completing the financing for the project in due course.”

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Japan: Osaka Gas Eyes U.S. LNG

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Japan’s Osaka Gas is in negotiations to buy liquefied natural gas from Dominion Resources, Sempra Energy and Freeport LNG in the United States, Bloomberg reported, citing Tetsushi Ikuta, general manager of Osaka Gas energy resources and international business development.

He said that Osaka Gas may invest in planned LNG terminals in Maryland, Louisiana and Texas.

Osaka Gas said recently that it plans to purchase 7.19 million mt of LNG during fiscal 2012.

The company also plans to invest 290 billion yen (3.49 billion U.S. dollars) in LNG storage facilities and laying pipelines in five years from fiscal 2012-2016.

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100 Million Tons of Ships, Hyundai Heavy Surpasses All Others

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Image courtesy Qatar Gas

The Korea Times and Yonhap news reports today that South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has cumulatively built over 100 million tons of ships over the shipyard’s 40 year history.

No other shipbuilding company in the world has ever built more.

According to the Korea Times,

Hyundai Heavy has delivered a total of 1,805 diverse types of ships, ranging from drilling vessels, LNG or LPG carriers and container ships to submarines and naval ships, to more than 280 ship owners in 49 different countries.

The ships include 510 container ships, 351 oil tankers, 343 bulk carriers and 124 product carriers.

Last month, HHI won orders for 4 liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and 1 LNG floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) worth USD $1.1 billion.  The orders included two 162,000 cbm LNG carriers for Golar LNG of Norway and two same-class ships for an unnamed European shipowner.

According to a Dow Jones report in January, HHI’s 2012 annual order and sales targets are up 19.6% and 9.5%, respectively, from its results in 2011, when it booked $25.54 billion in orders and KRW25.2 trillion in sales.

Asian shipyards such as HHI are bracing for challenging times ahead however as current oil prices increase operating costs, a glut of containerships and tankers put heavy downward pressure on freight rates, and newbuild ship financing becomes increasingly more complex for shipowners.

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USA: Broadwater Shelves LNG Plan

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Broadwater Energy said that it has decided not to go forward with any aspect of its LNG project, the company said in a letter to U.S. FERC.

Broadwater also asked the Commission to vacate its previous authorization for the LNG project.

The company is a joint venture by TransCanada Corporation and Shell Oil, and it planned to build a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) attached to a yoke mooring system about 9 miles off Long Island and 10.5 miles off Connecticut, with a maximum regasification capacity of about 9 million mt of LNG per annum.

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Cheniere: Sabine 1,2 Train Construction Start in H1 2012 (USA)

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Cheniere Energy Partners reported a net loss of $7.5 million and $31.0 million for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011, compared to a net loss of $2.7 million and net income of $107.6 million for the same periods in 2010.

For the year ended December 31, 2011, affiliate revenues decreased $116.3 million primarily as a result of the assignment of the terminal use agreement (TUA) in June 2010 from Cheniere Marketing to Cheniere Energy Investments, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, which required Cheniere to eliminate for consolidated reporting purposes the TUA revenues under this contract to Sabine Pass LNG.

Overview of Significant Events

During 2011, Sabine Pass Liquefaction made significant progress on the liquefaction project being developed at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, including the following:

  • received an order from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with authorization to export domestically produced natural gas from the Sabine Pass LNG terminal as LNG to any country that has, or in the future develops, the capacity to import LNG and with which trade is permissible;
  • entered into a lump sum turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) agreement with Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals for the first two LNG trains and related facilities at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal for a contract price of $3.9 billion, which is subject to adjustment by change order; and
  • sold an aggregate of approximately 10.5 million mtpa of LNG per year under three long-term LNG sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) which commence upon the date of first commercial delivery for the applicable LNG train.

During 2011, Cheniere received approximately $69.0 million in net proceeds through equity issuances, including:

  • approximately $9.0 million during the year from the sale of 0.5 million common units through an at-the-market (ATM) program; and
  • approximately $60.0 million in September 2011 from the sale of 3.0 million common units in an underwritten public offering and the sale of approximately 1.1 million common units to Cheniere Common Units Holding.

As of February 2012, Sabine Liquefaction has contracted additional volumes under SPAs and has now sold approximately 16.0 mtpa of LNG, or approximately 89% of the expected nameplate liquefaction volumes that will be available upon the completion of the liquefaction facilities. The fixed fee component for the SPAs equates to a range between $2.25 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) and $3.00 per MMBtu and, in aggregate, the fixed fee component from all four SPAs totals approximately $2.3 billion annually.

2011 Results

Cheniere Partners reported income from operations of $37.0 million and $144.6 million for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011, respectively, compared to income from operations of $40.7 million and $280.8 million for the comparable periods in 2010.

Total revenues for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011, were $70.8 million and $283.8 million, compared to total revenues of $72.1 million and $399.3 million for the comparable periods in 2010. Total revenues primarily include capacity payments received from customers in accordance with Cheniere’s TUAs and incremental revenues from tug services and re-export fees. Revenues from affiliates for the year ended December 31, 2011, decreased by $116.3 million when compared to the comparable period in 2010 due to the assignment of Cheniere Marketing’s TUA to Investments, partially offset by revenues from the variable capacity rights agreement (VCRA) with Cheniere Marketing.

Total operating costs and expenses for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011, were $33.8 million and $139.2 million, respectively, compared to $31.4 million and $118.5 million for the comparable periods in 2010. Development expense (including affiliate) increased $25.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2011, compared to 2010, primarily due to expenses related to the proposed Liquefaction Project. Operating and maintenance expenses (including affiliate) decreased $5.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2011, compared to 2010, primarily due to decreased fuel costs as a result of efficiencies in our LNG inventory management.

Liquefaction Project Update

Cheniere continues to make progress on its Liquefaction Project, which is being designed and permitted for up to four liquefaction trains, each with a nominal production capability of approximately 4.5 mtpa. Cheniere anticipates LNG exports from the Sabine Pass LNG terminal could commence as early as 2015, with each liquefaction train commencing operations approximately six to nine months after the previous train.

Cheniere is advancing towards making a final investment decision on the first two liquefaction trains, which is subject, but not limited to, obtaining regulatory approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and obtaining financing. Cheniere estimates that the costs to construct the first two liquefaction trains will be approximately $4.5 billion to $5.0 billion, before financing costs. The company expects to finance the first two liquefaction trains with a combination of debt and equity. Construction is expected to commence in the first half of 2012.

Commencement of construction for liquefaction trains 3 and 4 is subject, but not limited to, regulatory approvals, entering into an EPC agreement, obtaining financing and making a final investment decision. Sabine Liquefaction has engaged Bechtel to complete front-end engineering and design work and to negotiate a lump sum turnkey contract. Construction for LNG trains 3 and 4 is targeted for early 2013.

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