PetroVietnam to import 500,000 barrels a day of crude by 2020

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Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, the state-owned producer known as PetroVietnam, may import as much as 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day when two refineries are completed by 2020, a company official said.

The nation doesn't purchase any overseas crude oil currently. Imports will jump as the company plans to build the 200,000 barrel-a-day Long Son refinery in Vung Tau city, southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, by 2020 and the 200,000 barrel-a- day Nghi Son refinery in northern Vietnam by 2014, said Bui Ngoc Duong, deputy manager of project department.

PetroVietnam also plans to expand the existing Dung Quat refinery by 30 percent to 192,000 barrels a day by 2016, he said. This plant processes domestic crude.

"For Long Son refinery and Nghi Son refinery, we will rely 100 percent on imported crude oil," Bui said in an interview today in Tokyo. "Currently, we are using domestic crude oil at Dung Quat refinery. About 50 percent of the feedstock will be shifted to Arabian Light grade after the expansion."

Vietnam's oil product demand is forecast to increase at an annual rate of 6.7 percent by 2020 to 31.5 million metric tons, according to data provided by the government.

The company will assess the type of crude oil to be processed at Long Son refinery when a feasibility study with Japan's JGC Corp. is completed. He expects so-called middle crude grades to be refined at Nghi Son refinery.

Idemitsu Kosan Co., Japan's second-biggest refiner, and Kuwait Petroleum Corp. each holds 35.1 percent in the $6 billion Nghi Son refinery. Mitsui Chemicals Inc. owns 4.7 percent and the rest is held by PetroVietnam.

PetroVietnam held an investment seminar in Tokyo this week to seek Japanese partners for $24.7 billion of projects. This includes the $8 billion Long Son refinery and $1.2 billion Dung Quat expansion.

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