Qalhat LNG signs $ 688 mm loan deal with global banks

Mar 31, 2005 02:00 AM

The 56 % government-owned Qalhat LNG signed a 15.5-year loan agreements with 13 international banks led by Europe's Calyon, world's eighth largest mandated lead arranger, to the tune of $ 688 mm for the country's third LNG train.
Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, minister of national economy and deputy chairman of the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council; Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Romhi, minister of oil and gas; Sheikh Alfadhel bin Mohammed Al Harthy, chairman of Qalhat LNG and undersecretary for development affairs; Harib bin Abdullah Al Kitani, CEO of Qalhat LNG; and Roger Warby, project finance director of Calyon signed the financing agreements.

"We are upbeat about the agreements as they highlight the trust and confidence of international investors, banks and financial institutions in a vibrant and stable economy like Oman," Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, told.
The minister said: "We are proud of Oman's LNG sector as it's making tremendous achievements".
The more than $ 700 mm Qalhat LNG train, which will have a capacity to produce 3.7 mm tpy of LNG, is being built at Qalhat near Sur on the north-eastern coast of Oman, adjacent to the Oman LNG plant.

Almost 90 % of the construction work is completed. Sheikh Alfadhel bin Mohammed Al Harthy, chairman of Qalhat LNG, said the plant would commence start-up operations before the end of 2005, and commercial production by January 2006.
Qalhat LNG has signed three long-term sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) for a total contracted volume of approximately 3.3 mm tpy. The agreements to supply LNG include a 20-year SPA with Spain's Union Fenosa Gas (1.65 mm tpy), a 17-year SPA with Japan's Osaka Gas (850,000 tpy) and a 15-year plus SPA with Mitsubishi Japan (800,000 tpy) and the United States.

Macki said Qalhat LNG and Oman LNG will operate as an integrated complex as it will generate economies of scale, improved efficiency and lower production cost. Qalhat LNG will also benefit from the experiences of Oman LNG. Once the plant goes on stream, the country's LNG production will increase from the present 6.6 mm tpy to more than 10 mm tpy.
The new LNG train is similar in character as compared to the two existing LNG trains with capacities of 3.3 mm tpy each. Oman LNG and Union Fenosa Gas hold 36.8 % and 7.36 % stakes, respectively, in the equity of Qalhat LNG.
"The government is the sole gas provider to the Qalhat LNG and Oman LNG projects. Under a gas supply agreement, the government has committed to deliver a maximum of 3.8 tcf of natural gas to the Qalhat LNG plant," Harib bin Abdullah Al Kitani, CEO of Qalhat LNG said.

The company has also signed necessary shipping agreements with Oman Shipping Company to provide necessary transportation for the volume sold.
"Recently, we have signed an agreement to finance two LNG ships named after Nizwa and Ibri. We hope to sign another financing agreement for two more LNG ships, which are under construction in Japan and Korea.”
"Oman will have six LNG carriers by 2006, as four new vessels are under construction in the shipyards of Japan and Korea. All the four vessels, named after Ibri, Nizwa, Salalah and Ibra, will be chartered by Oman Shipping Company -- the national shipping corporation," Macki added.

Oman has been a country with a proud seafaring tradition, and it has been looking forward to developing its own maritime industry and increase export earnings," Macki said. Of these four vessels with capacities (cm) of 145,000 each, two are expected to join the company's fleet of vessels in the fourth quarter of 2005, and the other two in the second quarter of 2006.
The minister said the government is committed to supporting transportation of gas and gas products. Now, Oman is pioneering into the shipping sector through its own fleet of ships, being built in the shipyards of Japan and Korea. At present, Oman has two LNG carriers -- Sohar LNG and Muscat LNG -- with tank capacities (cm) of 137,248 and 145,000, respectively. Sohar was built at Mitsubishi's shipyard, and Muscat at Kawasaki shipyard, in Japan.

Other than Calyon, banks and financial institutions that signed the agreements include Apicorp, Banco Bilbao, Banca Intesa, Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro, Gulf International Bank, ING Bank, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Qatar National Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale, StanChart and Sumitom Mitsui.
Alen and Overy are the legal advisors and Citicorp, the financial advisors.

Source: Times of Oman
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