The UAE and Oman yesterday signed a pipeline agreement to regulate the transmission of natural gas between the two countries.

The agreement further confirms Dolphin Energy Ltd (DEL) as owner and operator of the new gas pipeline connecting Oman with Fujairah.

This accord signifies the first occasion that a cross-border gas transmission agreement has been signed between GCC states, and strengthens the economic relations between the two countries, according to a statement from Dolphin.

The agreement was signed in Abu Dhabi by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Chairman of DEL, and Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, Oman's Minister of Commerce and Industry, as well as chairman of Oman Oil Co.

In January 2004, DEL began to supply up to 135 million cubic feet of gas per day from Oman to the Union Water and Electricity Co (UWEC) in Fujairah.

This gas is the main energy source for UWEC's 656 megawatt power station and 100 million gallons a day desalination plant.

To meet UWEC's requirements, Dolphin has constructed a 182-kilometer, 24-inch pipeline which crosses desert and mountainous areas belonging to both Oman and the UAE.

This connects the border tie-in with Oman's gas pipeline near Al Ain to Qidfa on the east coast. The gas supplies from Oman to UWEC will subsequently be replaced by Dolphin Gas from Qatar.

The border connection can thereafter be used to supply Qatari gas to Oman as required.

Oman and GIC set up $20m company
The Oman goverment and the Gulf Investment Corp (GIC) have set up a $20 million Oman Investment Co (OIC) to develop new projects and support existing ones, it was reported yesterday.

"We value our partnership with GIC, which has a long experience of 20 years in the investment field," Commerce and Industry Minister Maqbool bin Ali Sultan was quoted as saying after signing the accord.

The Omani government and GIC have equal stakes in the new company, according to GIC chief executive officer Hisham Abdul Razzaq Al Razzuqi.