Guarantees in Vietnam

September 6, 2000, 10:00 CEST

The Vietnamese government has agreed to provide guarantees to foreign investors in the country's Lan Tay offshore gas project.

This marks a fresh step towards bringing the field in the Nam Con Son Basin on stream through a 360-kilometre pipeline to a landfall south-east of Ho Chi Minh City.

"We've passed a new milestone in our negotiations with the Vietnamese authorities," says Olav Heigre, head of Statoil's operations in the south-east Asian country.

Total investment in the BP-operated project, including the construction of one of three gas-fired power stations on land, is put at roughly NOK 12 billion.

Lan Tay will be developed with five subsea wells in 125 metres of water, tied back to a production platform linked by the two-phase pipeline to an onshore treatment plant.

After the liquids have been removed, the sales gas will be piped for a further 35 kilometres to the power stations. Two of these will be owned by the Vietnamese electricity generating company.

Statoil will have a 36.16 per cent interest in the third facility, which is to be built in parallel with platform, pipeline and treatment plant. BP owns the rest of the power station.

The project needs a government guarantee for the whole development, reports procurement manager Svein Grønhaug.

And all commercial agreements must be signed before the operator can award contracts for rig hire, platform and plant construction, and pipelaying. Bids have already been obtained from contractors.

If everything goes according to plan, the field will deliver gas from 2002 and is expected to yield 2.7 billion cubic metres annually at peak. It should produce for 15 years.

BP is to transfer the pipeline operatorship to Vietnamese state oil company Petro Vietnam after five years of production, but will remain in charge of the actual field throughout its lifetime.

India's state oil company ONGC is a partner in Lan Tay, while Statoil and BP are the only foreign interests in the pipeline.