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LAGOS, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) has appointed France's BNP Paribas and GT Bank to help raise around $1.6 billion for six LNG carrier ships, a banking source close to the deal said on Wednesday.
The company, which is majority owned jointly by the state oil company NNPC and Royal Dutch Shell, told Reuters a year ago it had contacted global banks to appoint advisers in other to explore the best option to raise funds.
The banking source said the loan was being structured as a medium to long term financing with the close expected by the end of March 2013.
NLNG had said last year it would seek loans from the international market to expand the operations of its shipping subsidiary Bonny Gas Transport Limited, which currently has 24 LNG ships.
The company was set up over two decades ago to harness Nigeria's natural gas resources and produce liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids for export.
It has long-term supply contracts with buyers in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal and France and also sells on the spot market.
NLNG has a capacity to produce 22 million metric tonnes of liquefied gas a year. It obtains its gas supply from the upstream oil companies and liquefies it for export.