Mercuria gets loan to boost natural gas and LNG supplies to Italy

Global commodities trader Mercuria has secured a 500 million euro ($547 million) loan, backed by the Italian government, to increase supplies of natural gas and LNG to Italy.

Mercuria Energy Trading announced the closing of its new five-year multicurrency ECA covered credit facilities agreement in a statement on Tuesday.

The loan is guaranteed by SACE, the Italian export credit agency controlled by the country’s economy and finance ministry, as part of SACE’s push strategy, Mercuria said.

The Geneva-based trader mandated UniCredit Bank, Societe Generale, Natixis, and UBS Switzerland as the mandated lead arrangers and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank as the lead arranger.

Mercuria’s CFO Guillaume Vermersch said this is the first ECA-backed transaction for Mercuria.

“Under this agreement, Mercuria will increase its natural gas and LNG supplies to Italy, supporting Italian national industrial needs and the overall European gas market,” Vermersch said.

Italy hosts Snam’s Panigaglia facility, the FSRU Toscana, and the Adriatic LNG import terminal, as well as the small-scale facilities such as the terminal in the port of Ravenna and the Higas terminal.

Snam will also soon launch commercial operations at the FSRU-based LNG import terminal in the port of Piombino.

This facility is the fourth large LNG terminal in Italy and the second FSRU-based facility, while Snam also bought one FSRU from BW and signed a deal to convert LNG carrier Golar Arctic into an FSRU.

Snam plans to employ the 2015-built FSRU BW Singapore to serve the facility off Ravenna.

Italy and its firms have been heavily investing in LNG since the last year in order to replace Russian pipeline gas and boost energy security.

This is is the case with other European countries such as Germany that in December agreed a $3 billion loan with commodity trader Trafigura.

Under this deal, Trafigura will deliver natural gas and LNG supplies to Germany’s SEFE.

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