December 21, 2012
Latham & Watkins represented eight export credit agencies from Japan, Australia, Korea, France, Germany and The Netherlands, and a syndicate of 24 commercial lenders, on a $20 billion project financing of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia sponsored by Inpex Corporation and Total SA. The financing efforts for the Ichthys LNG project began in the Spring of 2011 and the finance documents were signed on December 18, 2012. According to Inpex Corporation, the Ichthys project financing is the largest project financing ever arranged in the international finance market. The Ichthys project comprises the development of two gas liquefaction trains with a combined design capacity of 8.4 million tonnes per annum. LNG is produced by cooling natural gas to -161°C, when it becomes a liquid that can then be transported by LNG vessels. Most of the LNG produced by the Ichthys project will be supplied to seven Japanese utilities, with the remainder (1.75 mtpa) being sold to CPC Corporation in Taiwan. In addition to LNG, the project also is expected to produce 1.6 million tonnes per annum of LPG and approximately 100,000 barrels per day of condensates. Latham & Watkins also recently advised the lenders on two other notable LNG projects: the $14 billion financing of the Papua New Guinea LNG project in 2010 and the $8.5 billion project financing of the Australia Pacific LNG project earlier in 2012. In addition, Latham is currently representing the sponsors of the Yamal LNG project in Russia and an Anadarko-led consortium in connection with its LNG project in Mozambique. The team was led by finance partners Bill Voge and Matthew Brown in London, corporate partners Michael Yoshii and Hiroki Kobayashi and finance partner Joe Bevash in Tokyo, and Singapore finance partner Stephen McWilliams. Advice on environmental matters was provided by partner James Barrett in Washington DC, and on tax matters by partners Sean Finn in London and Jiyeon Lee-Lim in New York. London corporate partner Lene Malthasen led a separate Latham team assisting eight bank agents on the transaction.