Vietnam loses attraction to oil companies

Jan 13, 1998 01:00 AM

International interest in oil exploration in Vietnam is wearing thin as disappointments have befallen one project after another. A string of Western oil concerns have moved out of the Southeast Asian country, while awarding of new drilling rights has come to a standstill.
The oil fields already in operation are approaching their production peak, and with exploration activity at an ebb, the lustre is peeling off Vietnam's status as an oil producing nation.
Australia's BHP withdrew from the Dai Hung oil field, off Vungtau in southern Vietnam, in the spring of last year, selling its interests there to Petronas after seeing production fell way short of a projected 25,000 bpd.
Mobil pulled out of oil field development in the country by last August, giving up on the feasibility of commercial production. Similar setbacks hit Occidental and Total.
Spirit is running low in Vungtau, Vietnam's oil exploration centre, where the oil-linked presence of foreign companies has dropped to 11 offices from a 1995 peak of 23. Closings last year included units of Shell and British Gas Plc.
Although development work continues in several concessions, an increasingly prevalent view in the oil industry puts Vietnam's total oil reserves at only one-third those of Indonesia.
Current commercial production from 4 oil fields, is estimated at 180,000 bpd. The bulk of that comes from the Bach Ho field through a Vietnamese-Russian joint venture that dates back to the days of the old Soviet Union.

Source: not available
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