Leading global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has advised China energy major ENN Ecological Holdings Co. Ltd on its first acquisition in the United States' liquefied natural gas (LNG) market.
ENN has acquired the rights to a 20-year liquefaction tolling agreement with Texas-based Freeport LNG from Japan's Toshiba Corporation. The contract guarantees access to around 2.2 million tonnes of US LNG each year.
The transaction is also the first investment by a private Chinese company in the US LNG market and is subject to regulatory approvals.
"China's consumption of LNG is rising dramatically year on year as it switches to cleaner sources of power," said partner Hilary Lau, who led the Herbert Smith Freehills team advising ENN. "This is a landmark deal for ENN, and strengthens its position as one of China's leading clean energy suppliers."
Located on the Texas coast, Freeport LNG is one of the first and largest US exporters of LNG. With the massive increase in US shale gas production for export, the facility is adding three liquefaction trains to its existing import facility. The project will export over 15 million tonnes of LNG per annum once it comes fully on line in Q3 2019.
"This major transaction demonstrates our ability to complete complex first-in-market energy deals for Asian clients working in competitive global markets," said Asia managing partner Justin D'Agostino. "The strength of our energy team across the globe helped ENN secure this essential LNG supply from one of the US' largest suppliers."
Hilary was assisted from China by partner Monica Sun, senior associates James Zhang and Calvin Ho, associates Charles Wong and Quijie Tan, and trainee Kaiwen Sun.
In New York, senior associates Marianna Schneider and Micaela McLean advised on New York law issues, and visiting associates Paola Ordonez Arias and Natalia Mauad also assisted with due diligence review.
New York counsel Jonathan Cross and Hong Kong associate Howard Chan advised on competition and regulatory aspects of the transaction.
External counsel Jones Walker advised on US pensions, employment and regulatory law, while Richards Layton & Finger provided Delaware law support.
新奥股份将从日本东芝公司（Toshiba Corporation）手中受让一项与Freeport LNG为期20年的液化加工协议。根据该合同，新奥股份每年将从美国获得约220万吨的液化天然气。
Freeport LNG位于德克萨斯州，是美国最早、规模最大的液化天然气出口项目之一。随着美国页岩气产量大幅增加，Freeport LNG正在原有的进口设施上增建三个液化天然气生产线；在2019年第三季度陆续投产后，该项目的年出口能力将超过1500万吨液化天然气。
史密夫斐尔纽约办公室高级律师Marianna Schneider和Micaela McLean就纽约法事务提供支持；访问律师Paola Ordonez Arias和Natalia Mauad协助开展尽职调查工作。
美国当地律师事务所Jones Walker就美国养老金、劳动法及监管事务提供支持；Richards Layton & Finger 就特拉华州法律方面提供协助。