The US fights back

It’s been quite a turnaround. In the first quarter of this year, no US deals featured in our top 10 projects list. But in the second quarter, boosted by three huge liquefaction projects, the country accounted for four of the 10 and made the US easily the most active market during the three-month period.

Top of the tree was the construction of two natural gas liquefaction trains for the $14.6 billion Corpus Christi project in Texas, followed by further financings for the Freeport and Sabine Pass projects. Corpus Christi becomes the largest financial close so far this year, beating the $8.1 billion Rabigh Phase II petrochemical refinancing in Saudi Arabia which closed in Q1.

The second quarter saw energy just nose ahead of transport as the most popular sector, accounting for $33.6 billion worth of deals during the period, compared with $31.4 billion for transport. Adding the first quarter totals shows that energy is currently on $50.8 billion compared with $50.6 billion for transport.

In the mandated lead arranger (MLA) table, the Japanese dominance that has been seen over the last few years continued in the second quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group took the honours this time with commitments totalling almost $2.4 billion, having been in eighth place in the first quarter.

However, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) is the leading bank at the halfway stage of the year, having been placed first in the opening quarter and second this time. European banks fill places three to nine, with ING Group – which came fifth in the first-quarter table – the top European this time.

The second quarter saw a pick-up in activity overall, with MLAs accounting for almost $41.4 billion worth of commitments compared with $27.3 billion in the first quarter.

Thanks predominantly to the US liquefaction projects, North America – only the fourth- most-active region in the first quarter – jumped to the top of the regional table in Q1. Western Europe claimed second and Middle East/Africa third, with Asia Pacific and Latin America in fourth and fifth respectively.