April 16 Cheniere Energy has engaged
eight financial institutions to raise up to $4 billion in debt
to help finance the construction of its proposed liquefied
natural gas export plant in Louisiana.
Houston-based Cheniere plans to build the LNG plant at
Sabine Pass that would chill cheap U.S. natural gas to a liquid
for shipping overseas by 2015. It would be the first of its kind
built in the United States in nearly 50 years.
"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," Cheniere Chief Executive Charif Souki said in a
The financers include Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Credit
Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Credit Suisse Securities
, HSBC, J.P. Morgan Securities, Morgan
Stanley, RBC Capital Markets, and SG Americas
Cheniere has approval to build the project and is now
seeking financing before construction can begin.
Natural gas in Europe and Asia is up to seven times more
expensive than the United States where record production from
newly developed shale deposits has pushed prices to 10-year
Low prices have prompted a string of U.S. export proposals
over the past year as producers and developers look to make the
most of higher prices overseas.
Customers across the globe -- from Europe to India to South
Korea -- have signed up for supply from Sabine Pass, bringing
Cheniere closer to securing financial backing. In February,
private equity firm Blackstone Group LP said it would
invest $2 billion in Cheniere Energy Partners to help fund the
The project has been in the limelight in recent months as
consumers and gas producers debate the benefits and drawbacks of
exporting an abundant domestic resource. The U.S. government
said in January that exporting natural gas could add between 3
and 9 percent a year to prices over the next two decades.