Venture Global gets loan for Louisiana Plaquemines LNG construction

(Reuters) - Venture Global LNG Inc said on Thursday it closed a $500 million term loan with several banks and will use some of the proceeds to fund construction activities as its proposed Plaquemines liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Louisiana.

Venture Global has not made a final investment decision (FID) to build Plaquemines, yet analysts say the plant is one of the few U.S. export projects expected to go forward this year.

After only one LNG export project - Sempra Energy’s Costa Azul in Mexico - started construction in 2020 as coronavirus depressed demand, there are now 14 North American projects planning to make a FID in 2021, most of which were delayed from 2020.

“We are proud to continue to partner with this group of leading banks, all of whom are lenders to our Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility, as we move towards the launch of full construction on Plaquemines LNG in 2021,” Venture Global CEO Mike Sabel said in a statement.

The banks involved are units of JPMorgan Chase & Co Inc, Morgan Stanley, Mizuho Financial Group Inc and Bank of America Corp.

Venture Global said it has contracted 3.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of the first 10-MTPA phase of Plaquemines under binding 20-year offtake agreements and has received both U.S. Department of Energy export authorization and final approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Venture Global is building or developing over 50 MTPA of LNG production capacity in Louisiana, including the 10-MTPA Calcasieu Pass that is under construction and expected to start producing the first LNG in the autumn of 2022.

The company also has several plants in various stages of development including a second 10-MTPA phase at Plaquemines, two 10-MTPA phases at Delta and two 10-MTPA phases at CP2 next to the Calcasieu site.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by David Evans