UAE Offsets Group (UOG)
27 Mar 2000
United Arab Emirates Offsets Group (UOG)
SIMMONS & SIMMONS ADVISES ON GROUND BREAKING ENERGY PROJECT IN GULF
The United Arab Emirates Offsets Group (UOG) recently entered into agreement with global oil majors Enron and Elf (a subsidiary of Totalfina) on a Strategic Partnership for the implementation of UOG's Dolphin initiative, which is expected to be one of the world's largest integrated energy initiatives. Leading international law firm Simmons & Simmons has been advising UOG throughout on the Project. Centred around the construction of a new gas pipeline from Qatar's North Field via Abu Dhabi to Dubai and Oman, Project Dolphin encompasses activity along the whole 'gas value chain' - developing gas reserves in Qatar, distributing gas to local markets, and developing new industrial clusters in the UAE, Qatar and the region generally. Designed to meet substantial demand increases for gas in the Gulf, Project Dolphin is estimated to involve aggregate investment of up to US$10 billion over the next six to seven years.
UOG have been advised by Simmons & Simmons since the Project's inception. The firm has been closely involved as Memoranda of Understanding for the supply of gas have been secured between UOG and governments or state energy companies in Qatar, Dubai and Oman, and in Pakistan (to where it is hoped to extend the Dolphin pipeline in a subsequent stage of its development).
For Simmons & Simmons, this has been a truly international project, involving the firm's offices in London, Abu Dhabi, New York, Paris, Brussels and Milan. In addition to partnering issues, Simmons & Simmons has provided advice to UOG on the corporate structuring of the Project, energy law, international law matters, agreements for both the sourcing and the sale of gas, regulatory issues, and environmental law matters. The firm's Energy Group has led the thinking on the transaction and played a fundamental role in advising UOG throughout.
The Strategic Partnership, which was signed on 01 March, is envisaged to last a minimum of 25 years, with UOG holding a 51% majority shareholding and the remainder split equally between Enron and Elf. The initial goal of the Strategic Partnership will be to develop phase one of the Dolphin Project. This will involve the construction of a subsea pipeline from Ras Laffan in Qatar to a landfall in Abu Dhabi, and thence to Dubai and Oman. In the first phase, this pipeline will supply up to 3,000 million cubic feet a day of Qatar's gas to the UAE and Oman. This would account for nearly 10% of the world's gas supplies shipped by pipeline. In the second phase, it is planned that the pipeline will be extended along the seabed to Pakistan, and handle up to another 1,500 million cubic feet of gas a day after 2005.
The Simmons & Simmons team was led by Jerry Walter (Head of Corporate and Head of the Energy Group), supported by partner Steven Bryan (Corporate). Also included in the team were Rachael Hubbard (Corporate), Lisa Cristie (Tax), Andrew O'Keeffe (Banking), and partner Charles Bankes (Regulatory). In Abu Dhabi, the team has included partner Nicholas Williams, and assistants Philip Doak, Daniel Hood and Miranda Cudmore.
Commenting on the Project, Jerry Walter said:
"It is a pleasure to have been involved in a major project of such importance and to see it coming to fruition. From the firm's standpoint, it was an opportunity to show how a well-integrated network of international offices can really help to deliver a first rate service on projects of this scale."
Notes for editors:
1. Simmons & Simmons is worldclass law firm with offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Lisbon, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York with over 1,400 staff worldwide. For further information on Simmons & Simmons please visit our website at www.simmons-simmons.com.
2. Simmons & Simmons has acted for the United Arab Emirates Offsets Group (UOG) since its creation in 1992, and has advised it on a wide range of significant projects, both domestic and international, since then.
3. Simmons & Simmons' Energy Group continues to grow rapidly. With three new partners recruited to the Group within the past 12 months, we now have approximately 20 partners and 40 assistants working wholly or substantially on energy-related transactions. In addition to Project Dolphin, the Group is also currently advising on a number of other international energy projects, including a major downstream project in Europe and two M&A transactions. Our Abu Dhabi office is also acting on two major independent water and power projects to be built in Abu Dhabi.
4. For further information, please contact:
Jerry Walter, Head of Corporate and Head of Energy
Louise Resnick, Media Relations Manager on 020 7628 2020