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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     23-24 November  2011

Russian firm in hunt for gas in Vietnam

Integrated Russian oil company TNK-BP Group on 22 November 2011 announced it has received an investment licence for gas block 06.1 in Nam Con Son Basin after acquiring the entire stake from British oil giant BP in Viet Nam and Venezuela.

BP last October agreed to sell its stakes in upstream, pipeline and electricity assets in Viet Nam and Venezuela for US$1.8 billion. In Viet Nam, the Russian company will operate as TNK Viet Nam.

Following the official amendment of the investment licence for Block 06.1 last month, TNK Viet Nam has assumed operatorship of the Lan Tay platform.

As a next step, TNK Viet Nam will participate in the current licensing round for 9 offshore blocks being auctioned by the Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam). The bids will close on December 9 and winners will be announced in January.

TNK Viet Nam would also consider establishing a joint venture with PetroVietnam, TNK Viet Nam's general director Hugh McIntosh said.

The company will start drilling two sub-sea wells next month in the Lan Do field development project and its first gas deal is scheduled to come on stream in the fourth quarter of next year. Production from Lan Do is expected to bring 2 billion cubic metres of gas annually to sustain Block 06.1's current production of 5 billion cubic metres.

"We have a strategy over the next 10 years in which gas will account for at least 20 per cent of our portfolio of production. I think Viet Nam and Brazil, where we see both opportunities for gas development, will help us achieve our target," said TNK-BP Vice President of International Projects and Upstream Christopher Einchcomb.

Viet Nam offered TNK Viet Nam a number of opportunities, he said. The project it acquired in the country was the company's only offshore project. He also said that apart from the Latin America markets, Southeast Asia offered the company great chances and Viet Nam would be where it started to expand.

"Russian production is really challenging to maintain, we have to look for more opportunities," said McIntosh, adding that TNK Viet Nam wanted to double its production in Viet Nam to around 34,000 barrels a day over a five-year term.

Einchcomb said: "The skills we will learn from the integration of business here will be important to how we improve the efficiency of our operation."

Gas commercialisation was critical and he hoped to bring TNK-BP's technology to develop in Viet Nam as well as draw out experience for its further offshore projects, he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

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.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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