PetroVietnam invests $2.35 billion abroad

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Oil and gas group PetroVietnam has said it is investing a total US$2.35 billion in 25 exploration projects overseas.

The state-owned group plans to increase its oil and gas reserves in foreign countries to 10-15 million tons a year over the next five years, with 2-3 million tons extracted annually, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Sunday.

The projects are scattered across many countries, including Russia and Venezuela.

PetroVietnam said earlier this year that it plans to expand operations overseas to prepare for a scenario when domestic oil sources are exhausted.

Vietnam's crude oil consumption is set to rise in the next few years as the country's second refinery with a planned capacity of more than 10 million tons of crude oil a year is scheduled to start commercial production in 2014.

The 130,000-barrel-a-day Dung Quat in the central province of Quang Ngai is Vietnam's first refinery.

The National Assembly last week approved an investment of VND3.5 trillion for PetroVietnam next year which will be funded by the government budget.

Legislators demanded a proposal on how the money will be used.

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