PetroVietnam delays $1 bln overseas bond sale

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Vietnam Oil & Gas Group delayed its plan to sell US$1 billion of bonds overseas due to "unfavorable developments on international markets," Deputy Chief Executive Officer Nguyen Tien Dung said.

The state-owned oil producer, known as PetroVietnam, will sell the bonds "when the market becomes more favorable," he said by telephone on Wednesday, without elaborating.

PetroVietnam's postponement follows a decision by Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group, known as Vinacomin, to delay a planned overseas sale of as much as $500 million bonds in November. Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's cut the nation's credit ratings in December.

Hanoi-based PetroVietnam also plans to sell a 49 percent stake in the Dung Quat oil refinery to foreign investors "to help expand" the plant, according to Dung. Dung Quat is Vietnam's only oil refinery.

"Foreign companies, which can ensure a stable and long-term supply of crude oil for the Dung Quat refinery, will have our preference for the share sale," Dung said.

BP Plc signed an agreement with PetroVietnam in January 2009 to supply crude to Dung Quat, which has an annual capacity of 6.5 million tons. Commercial production at the plant started in February last year.

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