Delayed gas project gets nod from PM
HUW WATKIN in Hanoi
Prime Minister Phan Van Khai has approved the feasibility study for the construction of the Nam Con Son gas pipeline, which government sources say clears the way for the start of the US$1.5 billion project.
The green light for the pipeline has been described as the most positive indication to date that the long delayed project will finally go ahead.
'We will open bidding for the pipeline [soon] and hope that process will be completed by June, allowing us to start work on the project,' said an executive with BP Amoco, which holds nearly 33 per cent of the pipeline joint venture.
Other stakeholders include PetroVietnam and Norway's Statoil which hold 51 and 16 per cent.
The 400 km pipeline is scheduled to start carrying natural gas and condensate from the Nam Con Son basin off Vietnam's southeast coast in 2002. First discovered in 1993, it is estimated the field will yield 57 billion cubic metres of natural gas, most of which will be used for electricity generation.
BP Amoco last month opened tendering for the supply of underwater equipment and production platforms. Eventually drilling will be conducted under a production sharing contract of which India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp holds a 45 per cent share, a BP-Statoil alliance 40 per cent, and PetroVietnam 15 per cent.