Vietnam Offers 7 Offshore Oil Blocks to Foreign Companies

HANOI Apr 05, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Vietnam will invite foreign companies to bid for exploration and production contracts with state-owned PetroVietnam for seven offshore blocks, a PetroVietnam official said Thursday, in a bid to boost the country's crude oil and gas output.

"PetroVietnam is offering seven blocks in the Song Hong Basin, a deepwater basin offshore north Vietnam, where our surveys have shown potential hydrocarbon reserves of more than 5 billion barrels," said the official at PetroVietnam's headquarters.

He said several companies have shown an interest in the blocks, which cover a total area of 50,000 square kilometers and are located 100 kilometers from the shore.

He declined to name companies that have registered for bidding.

Last year, Vietnam for the first time allowed foreign oil companies to enter its northern region, which is believed to contain large crude oil and natural gas reserves.

PetroVietnam awarded exploration and production rights for offshore oil blocks 101 and 100/04 to Australian oil giant Santos Ltd. (STOSY) and Singapore Petroleum Co. (S99.SG) last October.

Currently, PetroVietnam has 35 joint exploration and production contracts with foreign companies which control 1.1 billion tons of oil reserves and 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas in offshore blocks, according to PetroVietnam figures.

Between January and March this year, Vietnam reported total crude oil production of 4.004 million tons or around 326,100 barrels a day, down 7.2% on year, government statistics show.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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