Belgian shipping company Exmar has received US$200mn from China’s ICBC for the financing of a next-generation floating liquefaction and storage unit for natural gas.

The unit is currently being built by China shipbuilders Wison (Nantong) Heavy Industry Co and Wison Offshore & Marine. The unit is intended to be used by Pacific Stratus Energy Colombia Corp in its Pacific Rubiales Energy project.

Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) acted as lead counsel to ICBC on the deal. The team was led by WFW Hong Kong office head and partner Madeline Leong, who comments: “This financing demonstrates ICBC’s support of the Chinese shipbuilding industry’s advancement and development in the sophisticated area of LNG and its interest in funding energy needs around the globe.”

The project is reported to involve the highest level of technology in the LNG sector and constitutes China’s biggest exporting project to Belgium in terms of contract value to date. Belgium is China’s fifth-largest trading partner in the EU, but up until now, the majority of its exports to the country have been low-level industrial products such as steel and toys.