Vietnam's Second Refinery Nghi Son To Export Petrochemicals This Month


HANOI, June 7 (Reuters) - Vietnam's second oil refinery Nghi Son, which is expected to be fully operational by early August, will export its first petrochemical products later this month, the plant's chief executive officer told Reuters on Thursday.

The 200,000-barrel-a-day (bpd) facility, owned by Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical LLC, is already running at 55 percent capacity while it is undergoing a long start-up process, Chief Executive Turki Al-Ajmi told Reuters.

Nghi Son is scheduled to export its first batches of petrochemical products later this month, including benzene and paraxylene, Al-Ajmi said.

The facility, when fully operational, will deliver around 720,000 cubic meters (560,000 tonnes) of petroleum products and 150,000 tonnes of petrochemicals a month, making a significant impact on domestic and regional markets, he said.

Nghi Son, which is expected to reduce the country's reliance on refined product imports, sold its first batches of gasoline and diesel last month.

Vietnam's first refinery, the 130,000-bpd Dung Quat plant that started up production in 2009, and Nghi Son, when it is fully operational, will be able between them to meet about 70 percent of the country's demand for refined fuel products.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer Dinh Van Ngoc told Reuters on Wednesday that the start-up process at Nghi Son is "going smoothly without any technical problems."

The new refinery is designed to process mostly crude oil imported from Kuwait. Vietnam is struggling to maintain its own crude oil and gas output amid declining production from key fields and ongoing pressure from China over disputed areas in the South China Sea.

The $9 billion Nghi Son refinery, 260 km (160 miles) south of Hanoi, is 35.1 percent owned by Japan's Idemitsu Kosan Co , 35.1 percent by Kuwait Petroleum, 25.1 percent by state-run PetroVietnam and 4.7 percent by Mitsui Chemicals Inc.

Nghi Son will sell all of its gasoline, diesel products and liquefied petroleum gas on the local market, while other products, including petrochemicals, will be exported, Ngoc said.

Vietnam imported 5.56 million tonnes of refined fuels in the first five months this year, up 11 percent from a year ago, according to the government's General Statistics Office.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by James Pearson and Tom Hogue)


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