LNG fuels Australian dominance

As probably the two most-talked-about infrastructure markets in 2014, it seems entirely appropriate that Australia (with its infrastructure wave beginning to swell) and the US (with funds flocking to its midstream opportunity) should account for six of the top ten infrastructure projects globally during the year.

As can be seen from the figures compiled by Infrastructure Investor Research & Analytics, the Queensland Curtis liquefied natural gas (LNG) project – the first ever to turn gas from coal seams into LNG – was by far the largest deal in 2014 at $20.4 billion. This was almost twice the deal size of the second-placed Cameron LNG project in the US, one of North America’s first new LNG gas export terminals.

In the full-year table for mandated lead arrangers (MLAs), two Japanese banks swapped positions from the previous year, with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp this time edging past Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to take first place with 162 deals worth almost $9 billion.

While Japanese dominance of the MLA table continued in 2014 with three of the top four spots, there was also a strong showing from European banks as they claimed six of the top ten. The Netherlands’ ING Group was top European performer, both in terms of value and volume of transactions. Two French banks were notable upward movers this time, with Credit Agricole climbing from ninth to sixth and Societe Generale from tenth to seventh.

Meanwhile, the table for top regions provides something of a surprise with Asia Pacific moving into first place from third in 2013 with almost $84 billion of activity and a share of the global market of almost 30 percent. Western Europe, the traditional table-topper is relegated to second place, with just over 26 percent of the market.

Unsurprisingly, Australia was by far the main contributor to Asia Pacific’s position atop the regional table – it was the most active individual nation in 2014, ahead of the US in second and the UK in third. However, Indonesia was also a major infrastructure player last year – finishing eighth in the country table, only two places behind Canada.

In the sector table, energy’s dominance gathered further momentum as it accounted for more than 51 percent of the global market (compared with 43 percent the previous year).