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Sat 7 Jan 2012 09:53 AM

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Kuwait committed to resolving Vietnam refinery issues

Kuwait Petroleum Corp CEO says working on financing issues on $6.2bn project

Kuwait committed to resolving Vietnam refinery issues
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Kuwait is committed to resolving "outstanding issues" relating to financing its joint venture plan to build a $6.2bn refinery in Vietnam.

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) CEO Farouk Al-Zanki and PetroVietnam president and CEO Do Van Hau on Friday reaffirmed their commitments to the refining and petrochemical project.

"Mr Do pledged his full support to secure Vietnamese government's guarantee for foreign exchanges for lenders of the project," Al-Zanki told Kuwait News Agency after the talks.

"The Kuwaiti government is committed to this project, which is also in line with KPC's strategy to expand downstream business," he said, adding that KPC will supply 100 percent crude oil for the joint venture with Vietnam and Japan.

The state-of-the-art refinery will have an annual oil processing capacity of 10 million tonnes, or 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), with a view to going online in 2015.

"The contract for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) will be awarded once outstanding issues, including finance, are resolved," Al-Zanki said.

The Nghi Son Refinery Petrochemical Complex, the largest refining project in energy-hungry Vietnam, will be located in the northern province of Thanh Hoa, 180km south of Hanoi.

The facility will also include a petrochemical complex, energy facilities, a pipeline and storage systems, along with an informatics system.

It will primarily churn out products such as LPG, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for the domestic market, together with paraxylene, benzene and polypropylene for neighbouring countries.

KPC's unit Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) established the joint venture in April 2008 with PetroVietnam, Japan's Idemitsu Kosan and Mitsui Chemicals.

KPI and Idemitsu each own a 35.1 percent stake in the joint project, with PetroVietnam and Mitsui Chemicals. putting up 25.1 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively.

Although Vietnam is Southeast Asia's third-largest producer of crude oil, its limited refining capacity means that it still relies on imported oil products.

As Vietnam's largest refinery, it is expected to contribute more than 30 percent of the nation's demand for petroleum products.

Last year, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of US-based World Bank Group, has approved funding for construction.

Al-Zanki and Do also agreed on further cooperation between PetroVietnam and KPC's subsidiary Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) in oil exploration projects in Vietnam, according to KPC's top official.

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