Duke Energy (DUK.NYSE), the soon-to-be biggest US utility owner, agreed to a US$6 billion credit line to support its commercial paper, funded in part by a consortium of Chinese banks, Bloomberg reported. Bank of China (601988.SH, 3988.HKG), China Merchants Bank (600036.SH, 3968.HKG) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC; 601398.SH, 1398.HKG)) invested a total US$676 million, about 11% of the total package – making it the highest-ever level of participation by Chinese banks in the credit facility of a US electric utility. The five-year agreement is intended to replace a US$3.14 billion facility set to expire in June of next year. It will also supersede three facilities worth a total US$2 billion of Progress Energy (PGN.NYSE), a company which Duke is purchasing. “This credit agreement will be a significant source of our liquidity for many years to come and adds to the financial strength and flexibility of the company’s balance sheet,” said Stephen De May, Duke’s treasurer.