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Cheniere Energy Partners (CQP) said Monday it has hired eight banks to help it arrange $4 billion in debt financing, the latest step in the company's hopes of building a facility to export natural gas from the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Cheniere listed the eight banks as Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.; Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank; Credit Suisse Securities (USA) Llc.; HSBC (HBC); J.P. Morgan Securities Llc.; Morgan Stanley (MS); RBC Capital Markets and SG Americas Securities Llc.
Cheniere would be the first large-scale exporter of liqufied natural gas, or LNG, from the continental U.S. after adding export capability to its import terminal in Sabine Pass, La. The Houston-based company fell deeply into debt after the U.S. natural gas production boom made natural gas imports into the country superfluous.
The proceeds will help Cheniere pay for developing and constructing the Sabine Pass liquefaction project and buying the Creole Trail Pipeline from parent company Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG)
"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," said Cheniere Chief Executive Charif Souki.
The natural gas supply glut has driven U.S. prices for the commodity to among the lowest in the world. Cheniere hopes to start LNG exports by 2015 and has already lined up BG Group (BG.LN), Gas Natural Fenosa, Gail (India) Ltd. (532155.BY) and Korea Gas Corp. as customers.
Cheniere still requires final project approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is set to vote on the company's plan Thursday.
-By Ben Lefebvre, Dow Jones Newswires; 713-547-9201; firstname.lastname@example.org
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