LUKOIL seeks to explore oil/gas with Petrovietnam

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Russia's No.2 crude oil producer LUKOIL said it would partner with Vietnam's Petrovietnam in exploring oil and gas at home and abroad, the fourth Russian firm to invest in the Southeast Asian nation's oil and gas industry.

The Russian firm signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam's state oil and gas group in Moscow on Thursday, according to a Russian-language statement sent to Reuters on Friday.

"The pact noted that LUKOIL and Petrovietnam are interested in cooperating in exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons in Vietnam, Russia and third countries," the statement said.

The Russian group and Petrovietnam would share information on potential exploration blocks and exchange results, the statement said.

LUKOIL has said it was seeking to bid for more offshore blocks in Vietnam after acquiring 50 percent of the Hanoi Trough 02 block offshore the northern city of Hai Phong from Quad Energy in April.

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Three Russian firms are already operating in Vietnam: Gazprom, Zarubezhneft and LUKOIL, while TNK-BP was in the process of taking over assets newly acquired from its shareholder BP Plc.

TNK-BP has also said its subsidiary, TNK Vietnam, had been licensed to operate offshore gas block 06.1, part of the Nam Con Son Integrated Gas to Power Project, and would officially open its office in the country next week.

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