September 11, 2017 / 1:34 PM / in 9 months

Abu Dhabi sheikh seeks to sell Qatar tower amid regional rift: sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - A company owned by a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family is seeking to sell Dolphin Tower in Doha, the Qatari headquarters of natural gas supplier Dolphin Energy, say sources, the latest sign of the United Arab Emirates attempting to trim ties with Qatar amid a diplomatic dispute.

Al Ain Properties, owned through an investment vehicle by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region of the emirate, has within the past two months appointed real estate firm DTZ Qatar to market the 25-storey building, two of the sources said.

Nobody was immediately available to comment from Al Ain Holding, the parent company of Al Ain Properties, or DTZ Qatar.

Relations between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have soured since June 5 when the latter four cut diplomatic and some commercial ties with Doha, accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the accusation.

Qatar supplies roughly a third of global LNG - natural gas that has been converted into liquid form for export.

Spanning 23,000 square meters, Dolphin Tower is the Qatar headquarters for Dolphin Energy [DOL.UL], which operates the Dolphin Gas project, which supplies natural gas to customers in the UAE and Oman.

Despite the regional rift, Qatar said on June 6 that it had no plans to shut the Dolphin pipeline that transports natural gas to the United Arab Emirates.

The pipeline was the first cross-border gas project in the Gulf Arab region. It pumps around 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day to the UAE.

Mubadala Development Co [MUDEV.UL], run by the Abu Dhabi government, owns 51 percent of Dolphin, while Total and Occidental each have 24.5 percent.

The sources didn’t say the requested asking price of the tower, which was completed in 2006 at a cost of $26 million, according to building information website Emporis.

Doha’s office market has been suffering from an excess of supply and received a further blow to sentiment when the regional crisis erupted.

Additional reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh, editing by Louise Heavens

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