Tender move lifts hopes for BP Amoco's key gas project

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 March, 2000, 12:00am

The much-delayed US$1.5 billion Nam Con Son gas project took a big step towards realisation last week with the opening of tenders for the provision of offshore facilities.

Hanoi has given the green light to project leader BP Amoco to call for bids for the supply of under-water equipment and for the construction of offshore platforms, according to the Vietnam Investment Review.

Steve Walker, the president and director-general of BP Amoco in Vietnam, said the move was a significant step forward.

This month, the partners in the joint venture reached an accord with Vietnamese authorities to accelerate work on the project. But several issues - described by industry sources as minor problems related to legal and foreign-exchange regulations - remain unresolved.

'The Prime Minister has asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment and foreign partners to talk again, but 99 per cent of the problems . . . have been resolved,' a government source said.

Negotiations on the project, Vietnam's biggest single foreign investment, have dragged on for five years with the delays estimated to have cost the country $700,000 a day in lost revenue. The project centres on the Lan Tay and Lan Do gas fields - discovered in 1993 and estimated to contain five billion cubic metres of gas - about 360 kilometres off Vietnam's southeast coast.