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Tue 14 Apr 2009 11:07 PM

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Dolphin Energy ponders bond sale

Abu Dhabi-led gas venture may tap international investors to help refinance multi-billion dollar loans.

Dolphin Energy Ltd, the gas supply venture majority owned by the Abu Dhabi government, may sell bonds to international investors to help refinance $3.45 billion of maturing loans, two bankers with direct knowledge of the deal said on Tuesday.

According to news agency Bloomberg, quoting the bankers, Dolphin is considering raising at least $500 million from the bond market should commitments from existing lenders fall short of the funds needed to repay its four-year loans due in July.

Dolphin’s gas pipeline project linking Qatar's giant North Field with the UAE and Oman was the first cross-border gas project in the Gulf Arab region. It pumps around 2 billion cubic feet per day to the UAE.

The project was financed in 2005 through a $2.45 billion conventional facility and a $1 billion Islamic loan. The original financing was provided by a 25-strong list of banks, including HSBC Holdings, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Mubadala Development Co, - the Abu Dhabi government’s investment arm - owns 51 percent of Dolphin, while France's Total and US Occidental each have a 24.5 percent stake.

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