DUBAI, May 31 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf were mixed early on Wednesday as Brent oil's fall near $51.50 a barrel weighed on sentiment, though Abu Dhabi's Dana Gas jumped on hopes for legal action to recover payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Riyadh's index was up 0.2 percent after an hour, but the largest listed petrochemical maker, Saudi Basic Industries , fell 0.8 percent and most other petrochemicals producers were also weak.
Oil shipper National Shipping Co(Bahri) rose 0.8 percent on news it had signed a joint venture agreement with state oil giant Aramco, London-listed Lamprell and South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries to build and operate a shipyard on the kingdom's east coast.
Abu Dhabi's index added 0.4 percent as natural gas explorer Dana jumped 5.1 percent. An article on the website of Pearl Petroleum said that Pearl, Dana and Crescent Petroleum had applied to the U.S. District Court for recognition and enforcement of awards made at the London Court of International Arbitration against the Kurdistan government.
The article said that documents associated with the U.S. court filing revealed that Pearl was seeking another $26.5 billion in damages through a final phase of arbitration, which was expected to begin in September. In a statement, the KRG said it would "continue vigorously to pursue its rights and defend its position".
The Dubai index was flat as 11 shares gained ground and 11 declined. Small and mid-sized companies generally outperformed, with Union Properties up 1.5 percent.
DAMAC Properties was up 0.7 percent. It will be included in the MSCI emerging market index on Thursday, with index-linked funds expected to flow into the stock.
In Doha, shares of the largest listed developer, Ezdan Holding, tumbled by a further 8.1 percent. The shares have plunged since the end of last week, when shareholders gave preliminary approval for the company to delist.
The exchange said it had removed Ezdan from the QSE Index after Monday's close because of the decision, but the steep drop soured sentiment towards other stocks.
Most MSCI emerging market constituents were down, with lender Masraf Al Rayan off 1.3 percent.
The Qatari index fell by 0.7 percent. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and David Goodman)