Financing for the US$20bn Ichthys LNG project in Australia has been signed with eight export credit agencies (ECAs) and 24 commercial banks.

This is the biggest project financing ever raised.

The financing, raised by Japanese energy firm Inpex, includes US$5.8bn in direct loans from JBIC, Kexim, Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC Australia), US$5.4bn in commercial loans guaranteed by Nexi, Kexim, K-sure, Atradius, Euler Hermes and Coface, US$4.8bn in commercial loans, and US$4bn in sponsor loans. Mizuho Corporate Bank and Crédit Agricole CIB acted as financial advisers on the facility, while law firms Allen & Overy and Allens Linklaters acted as legal advisers.

Inpex has not revealed the names of the commercial banks involved, but GTR learns that HSBC is one of them. Additionally, a Nexi spokesperson confirms to GTR that BTMU, SMBC and MHCB will participate in the Nexi-covered tranche of the transaction. The spokesperson adds that the deal’s tenor from first drawdown to final repayment is about 16 years.

CBA, ANZ, NAB, ICBC, Société Générale and Bayerische Landesbank are also said to be involved, but none of these were able to confirm when contacted by GTR.

“The Ichthys LNG project is the first case where the Japanese company is leading such a world-scale LNG project as an operator. The finalisation of the project financing arrangements is a major milestone in ensuring the successful development of the promising Ichthys LNG project that will contribute not only to a long-term stable supply of cleaner energy to Japan but also to a diversification of Japan’s energy sources,” Inpex says in a statement.

Production at Ichthys is expected to start by the end of 2016, with reserves equivalent to 8.4 million tonnes per year for approximately 20 years. Participants in the Ichthys joint venture are Inpex, Total, Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric Power and Toho Gas.

Buyers include Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tokyo Gas, The Kansai Electric Power Company, Osaka Gas, Kyushu Electric Power Company, Chubu Electric Power Company, Toho Gas, Total, Inpex and CPC Corporation, Taiwan.