Dolphin MLAs finalised

15 July 2005
All the mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) have now been appointed on the $3,450 million second bridge financing for the Dolphin gas project, which will take out the previous $1,360 million bridge signed in 2004. Five banks lead arranged the Islamic tranche and there were 15 MLAs on the conventional portion, joined by five further lenders.

Both tranches on the four-year facility were priced at 35 basis points (bp) for the first two years and 45 bp for the final two. 'For conventional banks there was nothing material to choose between the two apart from displaying their Islamic credentials,' says one of the international MLAs.

Only one purely Islamic bank - Dubai Islamic Bank - went into the deal, reflecting the tightness of the pricing. 'Even the regional conventional banks were really squeezed since they have difficulty borrowing funds at this rate,' says a regional banker involved in the transaction.

The sharia-compliant tranche is the largest ever in an oil and gas project finance deal. Dolphin's shareholders are Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development Company, France's Total and the US' Occidental Petroleum(MEED 1:7:05).

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