HANOI -Norway's state-owned oil concern, Statoil, confirmed reports by its
partner British Petroleum (BP) that they had found natural gas off southeastern
Vietnam but said it remained to be seen if the find was commercially
Exploration in the consortium's three blocks last year had
brought some potential for gas development, Statoil's president and chief
executive officer, Harold Norvik, told a reception ahead of talks with Vietnam
state oil enterprise, PetroVietnam.
"We are hopeful and we look forward
to commercialization of the gas finds we have made," he said.
touring Asia with Statoil board members, referred to BP's and Statoil's long
experience of building and operating gas pipelines. "I really hope that we need
this experience in the months and years to come," he said.
Norvik said he
hoped for successful offshore development, especially of the gas fields. His
comments confirmed recent remarks by BP executives.
BP holds two-thirds
and Statoil one-third of the consortium, for which BP operates three exploration
blocks in the far southeast of Vietnamese offshore concessions adjoining areas
disputed between Vietnam and China.
Industry sources said the consortium
was expected to decide late this year whether or not the gas was worth
exploiting - a decision that would be influenced by further geological tests and
how Vietnam chose to use its natural gas.
Using it to generate power
rather than to produce fertilizer could make the finds more commercial, the
industry sources told Reuters.
Vietnam has no gas industry apart from a
small field in the Hanoi basin in the north.
But it has announced plans
to bring ashore gas currently flared off during oil production from its Bach Ho
(White Tiger) oil field, lying 300 km northeast of the BP/Statoil gas
South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries was awarded a contact last
December to build Vietnam's first, 125-km, gas pipeline to take the gas from
Bach Ho to Ba Ria, near the coastal oil center of Vung Tau.
expected in the next few months on a $400 million second-phase of the gas
project involving a compression station, a liquefaction plant and a pipeline
from Vung Tau to Ho Chi Min City. - Reuters