State-run Vietnamese oil and gas giant PetroVietnam is in talks with America’s Exxon Mobil on a huge gas exploration project off Vietnam’s central coast, its chief executive officer revealed in aBloomberg interview published Friday.
The two oil and gas behemoths may reach a pact on “a US$10 billion natural gas and power project” next year, CEO Do Van Hau told the New York-based financial news website on August 19.
The first phase of the project would pipe gas from the field to a processing station from which it will be used to fuel a 2,500 megawatt power plant, one of the Southeast Asian country’s biggest of its kind,Bloomberg quoted the CEO as saying.
Hau said Exxon Mobil is interested in investing in the field, the pipeline and processing plant, adding that PetroVietnam, fully known as the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, will be the main investor in the power plant.
The total investment for the whole project is “somewhere around $10 billion,” he said.
Exxon Mobil spokeswoman Kim Jordan said in an April 20 statement that the Texas-based company is “in ongoing discussions with PetroVietnam and Vietnam government agencies and businesses to evaluate the feasibility of developing central Vietnam’s natural gas resources.”
Jordan said in the statement that the project includes developing the field, pipeline, gas plant and power plant, but “a detailed cost estimate has not been developed.”
In his interview with Bloomberg, Hau said the power plant project aims to tap 6 trillion to 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the field off central Vietnam.
The gas field PetroVietnam and Exxon Mobil is set to explore is a gigantic gas reserve off central Quang Ngai Province, according to a source close to VnExpress newspaper.
At a ceremony to recap PetroVietnam operations in 2013 held earlier this year, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged the state-run company to explore gas from the reserves to develop a 5,000 megawatt power plant.
The gas-fueled power plant will add to the national grid as the country’s first nuclear power plant, based in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan, would only break ground no earlier than 2020.