State oil and gas Petrovietnam group has launched the 2011 licensing round to cover nine blocks offshore Vietnam, the first offer in four years and its biggest in recent years, as the country works on reversing declining oil output and exports.
Vietnam, a net crude exporter and Southeast Asia’s third-largest producer, has been facing falling output from ageing fields and has been seeking to ramp up domestic and overseas production to meet growing demand and feed Dung Quat, its first oil complex, while more refineries are being planned.
The licensing round lasting between Aug. 1 and Jan. 5, 2012 cover blocks 43, 03, 10/11, 41, 11-2/11, 05-3/11, 50, 22/03 and 12/11 in Nam Con Son, Phu Quoc and Malay-Thochu basins, Petrovietnam said in a statement on Tuesday.
The blocks lie further to the south and southwest of the Spratlys and Paracels in the South China Sea, where tension has been in place between China and many of its southern neighbours.
Registration and data review will be held between Aug. 10 and Oct. 7, the statement said.
The data included around 49,000 km seismic 2D, 1,700 square km seismic 3D, processed and 33 wells drilled, showing similarity to recent oil and gas discoveries in the country and the region, the statement said.
It gave no estimated reserves for the blocks. The Nam Con Son basin covers the Lan Tay and Lan Do gas fields, in which BP Plc sold its stakes to its Russian joint venture TNK-BP in late 2010.
Vietnam’s crude oil production from old fields, including the major Bach Ho (White Tiger) oilfield in the Cuu Long basin, has been falling. July’s output fell 5.6 percent from the same month in 2010 to 1.21 million tonnes, or 285,000 barrels per day (bpd), government data show.
But in June, Vietnam-Russia oil venture, Vietsovpetro, reported new oil flow of 4,560 bpd at a well near the Bach Ho field.
Last month, Petrovietnam said it has started production at four new domestic and overseas oilfields and will bring additional oil from an expanded project at the Dai Hung field in the second half of this year. The new fields will help the country produce 7.79 million tonnes, or 310,300 bpd, of crude.
State oil marketer PV Oil this week sold the first two cargoes of medium sweet crude from Te Giac Trang — one of the new fields — for September-October loading via tender to European trader Vitol at better-than-expected premiums, trade sources said.
PV Oil is also expected to offer cargoes of the other new crude, Chim Sao, in the next one to two months, traders said, which could help turn round the fall in exports.
Petrovietnam started its first international licensing round in 2004, having awarded exploration rights in three blocks in the offshore Phu Khanh basin near the central coast, to oil firms from the United States, Canada and India.
The next came in 2007 when Petrovietnam offered seven oil blocks, all located in the Song Hong (Red River) Basin offshore northern Vietnam, and was awarded the following year.
Reported by: Ho Binh Minh (Reuters)