Sumitomo Mitsui Banking (SMBC) has been selected as financial advisor and mandated lead arranger by Next Decade for its Rio Grande liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project.

Under the agreement, SMBC will be responsible for securing debt financing for the Project. SMBC has extensive experience in LNG projects, having advised and arranged financing for more than 20 liquefaction and 11 regasification projects around the world, including all North American LNG liquefaction projects closed to date that were project financed.

Speaking to SMBC’s experience, Kathleen Eisbrenner, Chairman and CEO of NextDecade, said, "As one of the world’s largest lenders in the LNG industry, SMBC boasts an impressive track record of successful energy project financing. Their commitment to our Project represents yet another NextDecade partnership that both strengthens and adds credibility to our efforts." SMBC joins a growing list of some of the biggest names in the LNG, energy and financing businesses working with NextDecade, including EPC giant, CB&I, global investment group, Jefferies LLC, and investors York Capital Management, Valinor Management, L.P. and Halcyon Energy Investors, L.P. who recently injected an additional $85 million investment into NextDecade.

The role of financial advisor brings SMBC’s expertise alongside NextDecade in structuring and optimizing its long-term agreements with global customers. SMBC will advise Rio Grande LNG, and ultimately lead the international banking syndicate, in securing long-term capital for the Project’s construction.

"Our relationship with Next Decade reaffirms SMBC’s expertise in, and commitment to, financing large-scale, complex LNG projects both in the United States and abroad," said Juan Kreutz, executive director and head of SMBC’s Natural Resources Group. To date, SMBC has extended over US$2.6 billion to North American LNG transactions, ranking it first in the US amongst banks both by the number of deals in which it has participated and by total allocation. SMBC’s partnership with NextDecade on its Rio Grande LNG project demonstrates its confidence in the project and provides a strong positive indicator of how others in the industry are viewing Rio Grande LNG’s future.