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Mon 15 Dec 2008 12:54 AM

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UAE's Dolphin to issue $1bn bond in 2009 - report

Refinancing package for Qatar-UAE gas pipeline also to contain $500m Islamic element.

The United Arab Emirates' Dolphin Energy will issue a $1 billion bond early next year as part of a $5 billion financing deal expected in 2009, London-based weekly Middle East Economic Digest reported.

The company will use the cash to refinance $3.45 billion worth of existing debt and the rest for its pipeline project to deliver Qatari gas to the UAE and Oman, the MEED said.

As well as the $1 billion bond, Dolphin will raise $500 million from Islamic financing resources, MEED said, quoting unnamed sources close to the project. The financing deal should be launched in late January and is expected to close in April.

A Dolphin statement said: "The company will arrange a third tranche of project finance during the first half of 2009. This will replace the $3.45 billion facility arranged in 2005 to finance physical completion of the Dolphin Gas Project.

"The new tranche will be used to repay capital costs of the project during the coming 10-15 year period.

"Recent press speculation on the amount of the new finance package is inappropriate - no decisions have yet been taken on either the value or the nature of the lending facilities involved."

The $4.8 billion Dolphin project linking Qatar's giant North Field with the United Arab Emirates 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.

Mubadala Development Co, owned by the government of the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, owns 51 percent of Dolphin while France's Total and US group Occidental each have a 24.5 percent stake.

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