Major gas find off Vietnam

HANOI: BP has made what is believed to be at least one significant natural gas discovery in waters claimed by both Vietnam and China in the South China Sea, say oil industry executives in Southeast Asia.

The company has confirmed hitting ''extremely high-pressure'' natural gas at the Lan Tay-1 exploration well, and is currently dealing with a blow-out, or uncontrolled flow of gas, near the well, 430 kilometres southeast of Ho Chi Minh City.

Mr Michael Yeldham, chief executive of BP Exploration, said he could not comment on reports that the company had made yet another major gas find at the Lan Do-1 exploration well, not far from the Lan Tay-1 blow-out.

Reliable oil industry officials in Singapore and Vietnam say BP has struck high-pressure gas within a very thick subterranean formation at the Lan Do-1 well site. ''It could be very big,'' said one oil-man.

Both wells are located in Block 06, where BP is drilling in partnership with Oil and Natural Gas Commission-Videsh of India and Statoil, the Norwegian state oil company, under licence from the Vietnam Government.