TNK-BP seeks to bid for more Vietnam oil/gas blocks

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TNK Vietnam, a subsidiary of Russia's No.3 oil producer TNK-BP, will bid for blocks in state oil and gas group Petrovietnam's licensing round offshore the Southeast Asian country after acquiring BP Plc's assets, it said on Monday.

The firm will also drill two sub-sea wells in Lan Do field next month and plans to bring the first gas on stream in the fourth quarter next year for an annual capacity of 2 billion cubic meters, it said in a statement after the opening of TNK Vietnam's office.

"TNK-BP is here for the long term. As we focus on integrating these assets into the TNK-BP portfolio, we are also seeking new opportunities to deepen our presence in the country," said Chris Einchcomb, Vice President of International Projects and Upstream of TNK-BP.

In August, state oil and gas group Petrovietnam launched the 2011 licensing round for nine offshore oil and gas blocks, including blocks 43, 03, 10/11, 41, 11-2/11, 05-3/11, 50, 22/03 and 12/11 in Nam Con Son, Phu Quoc and Malay-Thochu basins.

The licensing round, which lasts between Aug. 1 and Jan. 5, 2012, is the Hanoi-based group's first since 2007 and the most in recent years. Bids will close on Dec. 9 and winners will be announced in January.

A senior Petrovietnam official said last month that Russian oil and gas firms are expanding their presence in Vietnam with three operating firms -- Gazprom, Zarubezhneft and LUKOIL -- while TNK-BP was in the process of taking over assets newly acquired from its shareholder BP Plc.

Russia's second largest oil producer LUKOIL has also said it is participating in the biddings for exploration in more oil and gas blocks off Vietnam after acquiring 50 percent of the Hanoi Trough 02 block offshore the northern city of Haiphong from Quad Energy.

An industry source confirmed LUKOIL has taken steps to participate in the bidding, but said the Russian firm has yet to send an official bid.

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