US$1.5 billion raised for LNG-to-power project in Brazil

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US$1.5 billion raised for LNG-to-power project in Brazil

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Centrais Elétricas de Sergipe (CELSE), a special purpose vehicle majority-owned by Golar Power, has announced the signing of financing agreements for the Porto de Sergipe I project, which involves the development of a thermal power plant that will process natural gas in electric energy in Barra dos Coqueiros, Sergipe state, north-east Brazil.

With financing amounting to approximately BRL5 billion (US$1.46 billion), the project represents the largest private investment ever made in Sergipe. The package will be made available to CELSE in tranches throughout 2018 and 2019.

CELSE has raised approximately BRL3.4 billion (US$991.4 million) through issuing simple non-convertible bonds, covered by Swiss export credit agency, SERV (Swiss Export Risk Insurance)Goldman Sachs Brazil has acted as the lead arranger of the issue.

In addition, the project will receive the BRL200 million (US$58.3 million) equivalent from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and BRL288 million (US$84.0 million) from IDB Invest, the private sector investment divisions of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, respectively.

The project is currently in the construction phase. As well as the thermal power plant, which will have a generation capacity of 1,516 MW, CELSE will deliver the accompanying transmission line and offshore facilities. This includes the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage and regasification unit, the anchorage system, the gas pipeline for transport to the plant and the water collection and waste disposal pipelines.

The company aims to begin testing and commissioning in 2019 and commence commercial operations in January 2020.

Securing financing from IFC means that the project meets the organisation's socio-environmental performance standards, which require commitment to sustainable development and the interests of the local community.

This milestone follows the project successfully gaining all of the applicable environmental licenses for its current phase, the last one having been granted by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) on March 29.

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