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Industry News

Freeport LNG Project Moves Another Step Closer to Construction

LCG, October 30, 2014-Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. (Freeport LNG) yesterday announced that its subsidiary, FLNG Liquefaction, LLC, has entered into definitive agreements for the debt financing of approximately $3.85 billion of capital required for the development of Freeport LNG's first train facility (Train One) at its proposed natural gas liquefaction and LNG (liquified natural gas) loading facility on Quintana Island near Freeport, Texas.

The Train One debt financing is being provided by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the following six commercial banks: The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, and ING Bank N.V., Tokyo Branch. Consistent with a previously announced agreement, Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. (Osaka Gas) and Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. (Chubu Electric) are investing approximately $1.2 billion for the development of Train One.

In July 2014 Freeport LNG received authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to site, construct, and operate facilities to liquefy and export domestic natural gas from its existing LNG import terminal located near the city of Freeport, Texas. Domestic natural gas will be transported via pipeline and pretreated near Freeport LNG's existing metering, compression and underground storage facilities. The pretreated natural gas will then be delivered to the terminal through Freeport LNG's existing gas pipeline. At the terminal it will be liquefied and then stored in full-containment LNG storage tanks. LNG will be exported from the terminal by LNG carriers arriving via marine transit through the Freeport Harbor Channel.

The Freeport Liquefaction Project includes a liquefaction plant with three trains that will have a combined liquefaction capacity of 1.8 Bcf/day. In addition, the project includes pretreatment facilities that will interconnect with natural gas pipelines. The plan calls for the two projects to be constructed together at Freeport's existing Quintana Island terminal.

The existing Freeport LNG facilities were designed and installed to import LNG to the United States in response to forecast declines in domestic natural gas supplies. Construction on the import project started in January 2005 and was completed in June 2008. With the tremendous growth in domestic shale gas production, there are now a number of LNG export projects that have filed formal applications that are now pending before the FERC.

Freeport LNG expects to also soon announce the execution of definitive agreements for the debt financing needs for its second train facility (Train Two). These agreements, together with the Train One financing agreements and the previously announced $1.3 billion equity commitment to Train Two by IFM Investors, will position Freeport LNG to close initial funding and commence construction of the initial two trains of the Freeport LNG liquefaction facility immediately upon receipt of orders from the FERC denying pending rehearing requests of its July 30, 2014 approval of the Freeport LNG project and from the Department of Energy (DOE) granting final authorization of LNG exports from the facility. Financial close and commencement of construction on Freeport LNG's third train facility is expected to occur in the first half of 2015.

The Chief Executive Officer of Freeport LNG stated, "We are excited to announce our partnership with Japanese governmental institutions to support the financing needs of the Freeport LNG liquefaction facility and to become a key contributor to the long-term diversification and security of energy supplies to Japanese utilities. We look forward to commencing construction of the initial two trains of the liquefaction project in the coming weeks and beginning commercial exports in 2018."

Train One is expected to commence operations 45 months from start of construction, with the second and third trains in operation at approximately six month intervals thereafter. Each liquefaction train has a nameplate design capacity of 4.64 million tonnes per annum. Approximately 13.2 million tonnes per annum of the production capacity of the three liquefaction trains has been contracted under use-or-pay liquefaction tolling agreements with Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric, BP Energy Company, Toshiba Corp. and SK E&S LNG, LLC.

Financial close and commencement of construction is expected to occur in November 2014 upon satisfaction of all conditions to debt and equity financing, including receipt of an order from the FERC denying pending rehearing requests and a final export authorization from the DOE.
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