• Kyodo

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The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has announced a $14.4 billion syndicated loan with domestic and foreign financial institutions for the development of liquefied natural gas in Mozambique, southern Africa.

It will be the biggest loan ever made to Africa, according to JBIC, a government-backed lender that will cover $3 billion of the total.

The syndicated loan also involves the Export-Import Bank of the United States, U.K. Export Finance, the Export-Import Bank of Thailand, and MUFG Bank, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

For the world’s largest LNG importer, it will be the first time importing Mozambique-made LNG. The project is intended to reduce Tokyo’s reliance on the Middle East, such as Qatar, for LNG supply.

The Golfinho-Atum gas field off the northern coast of Mozambique plans to produce a total of some 13 million tons of LNG a year from 2024.

About 30 percent of the product — equivalent to 5 percent of Japan’s annual demand — will be shipped to Tokyo Gas Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co. and other utilities.

“The loan will contribute to long-term, stable securing of LNG, an important energy resource for Japan, as well as the diversification of its procurement sources,” JBIC said in a statement released Thursday.

Demand for LNG has been growing internationally as an environmentally friendly energy source. LNG generates less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than coal, for instance.

In its basic energy plan released in July 2018, the government cited stable procurement of natural gas as a key policy item for Japan.

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