NextDecade signs $356M loan agreement for Rio Grande LNG

Texas-based energy company NextDecade has entered into a credit agreement with a group of lenders for $356 million of senior loans to finance a portion of the first three LNG trains (Phase 1) at its Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville.

Archive; Courtesy of NextDecade

According to NextDecade, the senior loans were disbursed in one advance for the full amount of $356 million on September 25, 2023, which resulted in a reduction in the commitments outstanding under existing term loan facilities for Phase 1 from $11.1 billion to under $10.8 billion.

These senior loans will mature in July 2033, will accrue interest at a fixed rate of 6.72%, and rank pari passu to the existing term loan facilities, the $500 million working capital facility, and the $700 million of 10-year senior notes issued at final investment decision (FID) of Phase 1.

The company noted that this financing transaction aligns with its long-term balance sheet strategy for Phase 1, which includes extending and staggering debt maturities, diversifying sources of capital, reducing bank capital over time to provide potential capacity for financing future LNG expansions, and mitigating interest rate exposure.

To remind, NextDecade reached FID for Phase 1 of 27 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) Rio Grande LNG export facility in July this year.

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In conjunction with making a positive FID, the company also issued the notice to proceed to Bechtel Energy to begin construction of Phase 1 under its engineering, procurement, and construction contracts (EPC).

Phase 1, with a nameplate liquefaction capacity of 17.6 mtpa, has 16.2 mtpa of long-term binding LNG sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) with TotalEnergies, Shell NA LNG, ENN LNG, Engie, ExxonMobil LNG Asia PacificGuangdong Energy GroupChina Gas Hongda Energy TradingGalp Trading and Itochu Corporation.

Just recently, Gulf LNG Tugs of Brownsville signed two construction contracts with Master Boat Builders and Sterling Shipyard for each shipyard to construct two tugs to serve the Rio Grande LNG export facility.