MOSCOW, April 29 (Reuters) – Russia’s Novatek-led Yamal LNG has signed loan agreements with Chinese banks worth 9.3 billion euros ($10.6 billion) and 9.8 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), Yamal LNG said on Friday, in a major boost for the liquefied natural gas project.
The painstaking talks with European and Chinese lenders had dragged on for months and were complicated by Western sanctions against Novatek and its major shareholder Gennady Timchenko, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
The funds will help the $27 billion Yamal LNG to start producing liquefied gas next year. The project envisages three LNG production lines, each with annual capacity of 5.5 million tonnes.
About 95 percent of future production has been pre-sold. The gas, frozen at a temperature of around minus 160 Celsius (minus 256 Farenheit), will be shipped to global markets including China.
The euro-denominated loan will pay 6-month EURIBOR plus 3.3 percent at the construction stage and plus 3.55 percent thereafter. The renminbi loan is rased at 6-month SHIBOR plus 3.3 percent and 3.55 percent respectively.
The 15-year loan deals were signed with Export-Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank.
Novatek holds 50.1 percent of Yamal LNG. France’s Total and China National Petroleum Corp control 20 percent each while China’s Silk Road Fund owns 9.9 percent of the project.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Olesya Astakhova; Editing by David Goodman)
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