Firms: Clayton Utz (APLNG); Allens (lenders)
Deal: Successful close of financing for the Australia Pacific LNG Project
Area: Project finance
Value: $US8.5 billion
Key players: The Allens legal team consisted of partners Phillip Cornwell, Nigel Papi, Ben Farnsworth, David Maloney, Rob Watt, Grant Anderson, Jim Parker and senior associate Justin Chenevier. The Clayton Utz team included energy & resources partners Andrew Smith and Graham Taylor, and project finance partner Bruce Cooper.
Other firms involved included Latham & Watkins LLP (international counsel to the lenders) and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP (international counsel to the sponsors)
Deal significance: A joint venture between Origin Energy, ConocoPhillips and Sinopec, the Australia-Pacific LNG Project is one of the largest LNG projects in Australia, and part of the first wave of coal seam gas to LNG projects in Queensland. The Australia-Pacific LNG Project is expected to generate about 6000 jobs in Australia during its construction phase, 1000 Australian jobs during its operational life, and produce nine million tonnes of LNG per year.
The project financing is the largest ever signed in Australia and represents the first time that the export finance arms of the US and China (which together will contribute at least $US6 billion of debt) have co-operated on an Australian project.
“At the time the Australia-Pacific LNG Project was signed, about $US170 billion worth of LNG projects were under construction in Australia. Development of the sector intensified following the Fukushima disaster and consequential reductions in Japan's reliance on nuclear power,” explained Cornwell.