Inpex Said to Ask Banks for Details on Proposed Ichthys Loan

Inpex Corp. is seeking more details from banks on loan terms as it aims to borrow as much as $20 billion for the Ichthys liquefied natural gas project off Western Australia, a person familiar with the matter said.

Japan’s largest energy explorer is making the inquiries after banks provided proposals on potential financing by June 29, the person said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Details such as margins, the loan structure and the extent of export credit agency involvement haven’t been decided, the person said.

Inpex and partner Total SA expect to start production on the project at the end of 2016, Paris-based Total said in a statement when the Ichthys LNG venture was approved in January. Exports of LNG from Australia may triple within five years as demand from China and developing economies increases, according to a government report yesterday.

Inpex spokesman Keisuke Yano declined to comment when asked about the negotiations with lenders. The company is looking for more than 1 trillion yen ($12.6 billion) in project financing and plans to sign a facility as early as October, with funds to be made available in the first quarter of 2013, he said in June.

Credit Agricole SA and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. are the project’s financial advisers and will lead the marketing of the loan to other lenders, another person familiar with the matter said April 3.

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