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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     20 October  2011

First oil produced in offshore Vietnam

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Santos Ltd (STO.AU) said this week that oil production has begun at the US$800 million Chim Sao project offshore southern Vietnam.

It said the project, operated by joint venture partner Premier Oil PLC. (PMO.LN), was completed on time and under budget. Oil production will commence from six wells, and the gross production rate is expected to level out at around 25,000 barrels per day, Santos said in a statement.

The development includes a platform and floating processing, storage and offloading vessel.

The company didn’t disclose the cost of the project but partner Premier has said it would cost $800 million to develop.
Premier has a 53 percent stake in Chim Sao, Santos holds 32 percent and PetroVietnam has a 15 percent stake.

Vietnam is one of Asia’s hotspots for oil and gas exploration, as the government offers attractive investment terms to foreign companies capable of drilling offshore and sharing technology that state-owned PetroVietnam, doesn’t own.

Vietnam’s economy grew 6.8 percent last year, and commercial oil and gas discoveries will help meet its growing energy demand.

Santos said oil from Chim Sao, located about 310 kilometers off Vietnam’s southern coast, will be exported via shuttle tanker and its gas will connect into the existing infrastructure via a subsea pipeline.

The group plans to undertake further exploration and appraisal drilling next year and Santos said it expects to add “significant resources to the project in the near future”.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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