7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Business News

Dolphin Energy gas supply to Oman delayed

RAS LAFFAN, Qatar: Abu Dhabi-based Dolphin Energy will begin supplying natural gas to Oman in August or September, a few months later than planned as Oman has yet to complete the infrastructure.

"In August or September we expect the gas to come to Oman," Oman Oil Company chief executive Ahmed Al Wahaibi said at the inauguration of the Dolphin gas plant in Qatar.

The Dolphin project linking Qatar's giant North Field with the UAE and Oman was the first cross-border gas project in the Gulf region. It has pumped around two billion cubic feet a day of gas from Qatar to the UAE since February.

Oman is struggling to meet both domestic demand and its gas export commitments.

Dolphin has a contract to supply 200 million cubic feet a day of gas to Oman.

Omani officials said last month they expected gas supplies from Dolphin to start next month.

"There is some issue with the gas compression," said Al Wahaibi. "It is on our side of the pipeline," he said.

A gas compressing unit compresses gas to ease pumping through the pipeline.

Dolphin general manager Ibrahim Al Ansari said the firm was still working on gas metering stations in the UAE. "The gas is there ... on our side we are ready to export."

As Dolphin waits for the infrastructure to be completed, it is supplying the gas that would have been pumped to Oman to the UAE's Federal Electricity and Water Authority and the federation's northern emirates of Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.

Dolphin will end those supplies when it begins exporting to Oman. It will reverse the direction of the pipeline. That pipeline was the first to carry gas across borders in the Gulf region when Oman began pumping to the UAE in 2004.

Mubadala Development Company, run by the government of Abu Dhabi, owns 51pc of Dolphin while France's Total and US Occidental each have a 24.5pc stake.

The final cost of the entire Dolphin project was around $4.8 billion, Al Ansari said, up from initial estimates of around $3.5bn.

The 364-km pipeline for gas exports to the UAE was completed in 2006. Dolphin began using the pipeline in March last year to bring 400m cubic feet per day of gas to Dubai.

Qatar maintains a moratorium on new gas projects from its North Field, as it studies the effect of rapid development on the largest reservoir of pure gas in the world. Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah said it was not in discussions to boost Dolphin supply and would not discuss further supplies with anybody until it had completed its studies of the gas field's performance.

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