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Dolphin Energy Fujairah pipeline on track

Dolphin Energy, the Abu Dhabi company that imports Qatari gas to the UAE, is on schedule with a project to build a new gas pipeline.

Dolphin Energy, the Abu Dhabi company that imports Qatari gas to the UAE, is on schedule with a project to build a gas pipeline to supply fuel to a strategic power and water project in Fujairah. The announcement comes after the company's recent completion of a major financing deal that will provide funds for the pipeline's construction. The 240km pipeline from Taweelah, on Abu Dhabi's Gulf coast, to Qidfa, Fujairah, is scheduled for completion in about a year and would be one of the longest and largest pipelines in the UAE. It is crucial for providing a reliable gas supply to the new 2-gigawatt power and water desalination plant, which the government-owned Abu Dhabi Water and Electric Company (ADWEC) expects in the short term to end electricity shortages in Fujairah while exporting some power to Abu Dhabi. Dolphin said yesterday it had reached the first of three completion milestones for the pipeline project by commissioning facilities to provide an early supply of gas to the power plant at Qidfa. It did that by modifying a section of its existing UAE pipeline network, allowing a temporary gas supply to reach the Fujairah plant via Al Ain. "This is an important development for Dolphin Energy. We are ready to deliver gas to ADWEC's tie-in connection point on schedule so that they are able to fulfil their commitments," said Ibrahim al Ansari, the general manager of Dolphin's UAE operations. "The supply of -early gas means that Dolphin is able to sustain its commitment to providing important gas supply to the UAE and support industrial growth across the entire country." Dolphin said construction of the new pipeline, which is being built by the Russian contractor Stroytransgaz, was on track for completion by the third quarter of next year, despite some early delays. The next milestone, which Dolphin expected to reach in February, would be the completion of a 127km pipeline link from Taweelah to a connection point on Dolphin's Al Ain-to-Fujairah pipeline. Last month, Dolphin completed a deal to refinance Dh12.66 billion (US$3.44bn) of debt that was coming due and to raise about Dh2bn of additional debt to fund the pipeline project. "It was always our intention to secure funding to help pay for part of the overall construction of TFP [the Taweelah-to-Fujairah pipeline]. Now that we have secured the funds, a portion of that has been allocated to meet those costs," Mr Ansari said. The Abu Dhabi company, which operates the Gulf region's first cross-border gas development, pumps about 2 billion cubic feet a day (cfd) of gas from Qatar's North Field, the world's biggest gas deposit. It ships the supplies through an undersea pipeline to Taweelah. Roughly 200 million cfd of the gas is re-exported to Oman. After completing the production facilities and most of its pipeline network, Dolphin is now moving into a new phase in which it uses revenue from gas sales to repay money it borrowed to finance construction. It is also seeking to increase the volume of its imports from Qatar, although that is unlikely until at least 2013, when the emirate may remove a moratorium it has placed on further plans for North Field development. Dolphin is 51 per cent owned by Mubadala Development, the Abu Dhabi Government's strategic investment arm. Its other partners, each with 24.5 per cent, are the American oil and chemicals company Occidental Petroleum and the French energy group Total. tcarlisle@thenational.ae

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