Access LNG BV’s LNG Vessel Financing In Ghana


Clifford Chance has advised the lenders on the deal.

The deal involved the construction, development and financing of 2 LNG vessels to be used for loading, unloading, regasification, storage and transportation services of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the port of Tema, located in the Republic of Ghana.

The project owner, Access LNG BV, is an LNG Infrastructure company backed by Helios Investment Partners (a leading Africa focused investment firm) and Gasfin Development SA (an LNG infrastructure developer). The lender group negotiating the financing was made up of multilateral agencies, development finance institutions and commercial banks, with ABSA Corporate and Investment Bank acting as global facility agent, security agent and account bank.

The LNG vessels consist of a 28,000 m3 floating regasification unit (FRU) and a 127,550 m3 floating storage unit (FSU). The transaction related to an LNG import project that is structured to permit Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) to arrange the import of LNG into Ghana to support the gas needs of the domestic market and deliver energy security for the operation of gas-fired IPPs and industries in the Tema region. By strengthening Ghana’s fuel security position, the project will play a core strategic role in Ghana’s economic development, particularly as the country looks to recover from the global impact of Covid 19.

This complex project was structured in 2 phases, being the initial financing of the FRU and the subsequent financing of the FSU. This financing as undertaken in parallel with the construction and development of the port infrastructure and onshore pipeline which will deliver gas to shore. It is the first-of-its-kind structure in the region and globally for an LNG terminal development, where both the terminal infrastructure and new-build vessel infrastructure are financed simultaneously on a limited recourse project finance basis. The combined project cost is approximately US$350 million.

A cross-office team of Clifford Chance lawyers involving 7 offices and led out of Dubai by Graham Brewer (Picture), partner, and Alhassane Barry, counsel, advised the lenders on all aspects of the financing, as well as on the shipping aspects and the political risk coverage.

The Clifford Chance team also included Abimbola Lawore (senior associate, Abu Dhabi), Caireen McCluskey (associate, Dubai), Fayo Arowojolu (associate, Dubai), Ilaria Ribis (associate, Dubai) and Mahmoud ElBanhawi (trainee, Dubai). Shipping expertise was provided by a team led by Kate Sherrard (partner, Singapore), with the assistance of Bernice Chia (senior associate, Hong Kong) and Tom Capel (senior associate, Singapore). Public international law advise was provided by Carla Lewis (senior associate, London) and Anna Kirkpatrick (senior associate, London). Marc Mehlen (partner, Luxembourg) and Aubry Kocian (associate, Luxemburg) advised on Luxemburg law aspects and Hein Tonnaer (partner, Amsterdam), Rutger Dekker (associate, Amsterdam), and Shaun Campbell (Transactional Support Lawyer, Amsterdam) advised on Dutch law aspects.

Involved fees earner: Fayo Arowojolu – Clifford Chance; Alhassane Barry – Clifford Chance; Graham Brewer – Clifford Chance; Tom Capel – Clifford Chance; Bernice Chia – Clifford Chance; Rutger Dekker – Clifford Chance; Anna Kirkpatrick – Clifford Chance; Aubry Kocian – Clifford Chance; Abimbola Lawore – Clifford Chance; Carla Lewis – Clifford Chance; Caireen McCluskey – Clifford Chance; Marc Mehlen – Clifford Chance; Ilaria Ribis – Clifford Chance; Kate Sherrard – Clifford Chance; Hein Tonnaer – Clifford Chance;

Law Firms: Clifford Chance;

Clients: ABSA Corporate and Investment Bank;

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Author: Michael Patrini.