Qatar signs development and production contract for Dolphin project

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Dec. 26 -- Qatar Petroleum, representing Qatar, and the Dolphin Energy Ltd. joint venture signed agreements for the $3.5 billion Dolphin gas project Monday.

The development and production agreement is key to the first cross-border gas pipeline agreement in the Middle East.

The partners in Dolphin Energy, United Arab Emirates Offsets Group (UOG) with 75.5% interest and TotalFinaElf SA with 24.5%, signed a 25-year agreement for development of the Khuff formation in Qatar's 500 tcf North gas field.

Enron Corp. previously held 24.5% of the project and would have operated the pipelines; its stake -- currently held by UOG -- is up for bid (OGJ Online, Dec. 3, 2001).

TotalFinaElf said two unmanned platforms will produce the offshore reserves. Production should plateau at 2.5 bcfd of gas, which will be treated onshore at the Ras Laffan terminal (Qatar).

At Ras Laffan, the wet gas will be treated to strip out condensate, ethane, sulfur, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Then 2 bcfd of methane-rich lean, sweet gas will travel through a 48-in. subsea line to the United Arab Emirates, serving the markets of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Fujairah. The line will be either 380 km or 440 km.

The agreement for the construction of that pipeline was also signed Monday between the government of Qatar and Dolphin Energy. No details were revealed.

Qatar will own all the condensate, sulfur, NGL, and LPG extracted from the wet gas, and will charge $1.30/MMbtu for the dry gas, which DEL will export. DEL aims at delivering first gas to its customers in the UAE in 2005.

Dolphin's initial phase will require an investment of $3.5 billion, followed by a further "multi-billion dollar investment" in downstream activities over 6-7 years.

"The Dolphin Project will complement the gas operations of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and meet demand for gas in the UAE, especially from the power generation sector, which is rising on an average of 10-12% a year," said Qatar Petroleum.

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