PetroVietnam continues oil exploration in East Sea

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The state-owned Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) has announced that it is continuing with its planned oil exploration work in the East Sea.

During a press conference held Tuesday in Hanoi, PVN Director General Phung Dinh Thuc said the work complies with international laws and is taking place inside Vietnam's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

Thuc made the statement more than one month after two of its exploration vessels were harassed by Chinese boats inside Vietnamese waters.

On May 26 a Chinese marine surveillance vessel cut the exploration cables of PVN's Binh Minh 2. Two weeks later, Viking II, a Norweigian ship contracted by PetroVietnam Technical Services Corporation and the French-owned CGG Veritas Joint-venture, was also disturbed by Chinese ships. 

Asked about measures to protect its ships and drilling rigs, Thuc said PVN will calmly monitor activity in the East Sea and cooperate with related agencies in carrying out its plans.

This year, PVN will cut or delaying 12 projects with a total investment of VND7.25 trillion (US$352.54 million) under a government order, Thuc said.

However, he assured reporters that its exporation projects in the East Sea were not among the shelved programs.

The official told the press that this year his group has made two discoveries which have increased its total oil reserves to 10.2 million tons.

He also announced that work will begin on a refinery with a 10 million ton annual capacity in Thanh Hoa province during the third quarter of this fiscal year.

In response to questions, Thuc informed reporters that the country's sole power distributor which buys electricity from PVN, Vietnam Electricity Group, owes PVN over VND7 trillion ($340.38 million).

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