January 6, 2015
NEW YORK — A record-breaking energy-financing deal for which Hunton & Williams LLP served as transaction counsel to a coalition of lenders has won Project Finance International’s Deal of the Year–Americas.
A team led by energy and infrastructure partner Raj Pande represented Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), and a group of commercial banks on a $4.37 billion senior secured project debt finance, letter of credit and working capital facilities to finance the construction and operation of Train 1 of a multi-train natural gas liquefaction and export facility to be located near Freeport, Texas.
In naming the Freeport LNG financing deal of the year for 2014, PFI said Freeport LNG brought together a wide range of equity and debt investors with aggregate commitments of approximately US $11 billion, making it the largest financing of any project in 2014.
The Train 1 and Train 2 debt and equity financing transactions closed and funded concurrently on November 25. The transactions represent the largest fully non-recourse project financing in history.
JBIC is contributing 70 percent of the Train 1 project debt financing, with the remaining 30 percent of project debt financing being provided under NEXI insurance cover by Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, and ING Bank N.V.
The proposed three-train LNG production and export terminal facilities, which are an expansion of Freeport LNG’s existing LNG import terminal and regasification facility, are designed to provide an LNG export capacity of approximately 13.2 mmtpa (million metric tonnes per annum).
In addition to Pande, the Hunton & Williams team included energy and infrastructure lawyers Ellis M. Butler, Laurence E. Skinner, Kevin C. Felz, Miki Kondo, Timothy R. Coughlin, W. Benjamin Falk, Henry H. Jin, Grétel Martínez, law clerk John Papaspanos and Adam O’Brian; regulatory and environmental lawyers Mark W. Menezes, Kevin J. Finto, Karma B. Brown, Eric M. Hutchins and Shawn J. O’Brien; real estate lawyers Howard E. Schreiber and Michael E. Sievers; bankruptcy lawyer Gregory G. Hesse; capital finance and banking lawyers Thomas A. Rice and Luppe B. Luppen; litigation lawyers John Jay Range and Carter T. Coker; and tax lawyers B. Cary Tolley III and Hilary B. Lefko; with assistance from real estate specialist Sophie Maleski and senior paralegals Julie Mendoza and Paula Arfin.