PetroVietnam To Offer E&P Contracts In 4Q

PetroVietnam is speeding up its seismic research work in offshore areas so that it can start offering investment opportunities for foreign firms from the fourth quarter of this year, a senior company executive said Friday.

"We hope to be able to complete gathering all necessary seismic data for some potential areas which will be offered to foreign investors later this year," the executive told Dow Jones Newswires.

"We still need time for (data gathering), but certainly we will issue new offers because our annual tasks require that we have to find new hydrocarbon reserves to prepare for future production plans," he said.

For the first time, PetroVietnam will offer opportunities in deep-water blocks that PetroVietnam hadn't previously opened to foreign investors, he noted.

These blocks cover about 10,000 square kilometers in the Phu Khanh Basin area, and are located about 600 kilometers northeast of Ho Chi Minh City.

The Phu Khanh Basin has an estimated water depth of between 300 and 1,000 meters, PetroVietnam figures showed.

Vietnam targets to produce 22 million-24 million tons equivalent of crude oil and gas by 2005 and 30 million-32 million tons by 2010.

According to PetroVietnam, the country has discovered oil reserves of 1.75 billion tons and 1,110 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Of the discoveries, 540 million tons of oil and 650 billion cubic meters of natural gas are recoverable.