The Dolphin Gas Project is a unique strategic regional energy initiative scheduled to come on stream at the end of 2006. It involves the development of substantial natural gas reserves from Qatar's offshore North Field, their processing onshore at Qatar's Ras Laffan – and transportation by export pipeline of up to 3.2 billion cubic feet a day (bcf/d) capacity of refined natural gas to the UAE.
Commenting on the overwhelming response from the market, Dolphin CEO Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh said: "The financial markets, for both Islamic financing and the conventional lending, have made a strong statement about the confidence they have in Dolphin Energy and the vision for regional energy integration behind it."
Dolphin will accept approximately US$ 3.5 billion of the four year commitments offered, which will cover the construction costs of the project in line with its scheduled completion in late 2006. The conventional lending facility amounts to US$ 2.45 billion and the Islamic financing is expected to be US$ 1 billion.
The Islamic facility will innovatively combine two Sharia'a compliant financing techniques, an Ijara (Sale-Leaseback of operational assets) and an Istisna'a (Forward Lease of assets not yet in service).
Mr Al Sayegh said: "We are especially proud to offer Islamic institutions a US$ 1 billion facility, the largest ever Islamically structured oil and gas financing. We are particularly pleased that our lead banks are making a special point to invite Islamic investors from across the Middle East and Asia to join the financing."
There is overall pricing equivalence between the Islamic and conventional facilities. The per annum margin above Libor on each facility is 0.35% for the first two years, and 0.45% for years three and four.
Commenting on the pricing, Mr Al Sayegh added: "The attractive pricing on our facilities demonstrates just how much confidence the market places in our capabilities, our vision, and the strength of our shareholders, Mubadala Development Company, Total and Occidental Petroleum."
The conventional facility of US$ 2.45 billion is led by 15 Mandated Lead Arrangers:
National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Facility Agent
The other conventional lenders are: ABC Banking, Arab Bank, BNP Paribas, Lloyd's TSB, and Standard Chartered Bank.
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