Kuwait's oil minister said plans were on track to build a joint refining and petrochemical project at Vietnam's second largest refinery and start its operation in early 2014, state news agency KUNA reported on Friday.
Petrovietnam has been developing the 200,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Nghi Son, 215 km (134 miles) south of Hanoi, in a joint venture with Kuwait Petroleum International, Japan's Idemitsu Kosan and Mitsui Chemicals.
Speaking during a four day visit to Vietnam, Minister Sheikh Ahmad al Abdullah al Sabah said: "I came to Hanoi once again to speed up the process and help ensure the implementation of the Nghi Son Petrochemical Refinery Project in 2014."
The Kuwaiti oil minister said the project depended on the Vietnamese goverment's approval.
He said: "We would appreciate the Vietnamese government's understanding our request and hope approval for the project will be given within the next few weeks."
Sabah also said he was optimistic about securing funding for the project.
Idemitsu Kosan said this month it had delayed the projected start of operations at the Nghi Son plant to sometime in 2014 from its previous plan for the April 2013 March 2014 business year.
State run Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI), an international unit of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), established the joint venture in April 2008 to build the $6 billion facility, which is designed to process Kuwaiti crude.
The plant is expected to produce gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other petroleum products for Vietnam, as well as paraxylene, benzene and polypropylene are expected for sale in neighbouring countries, KUNA said.
Sabah said: "With the completion of the refinery, we will see a 200,000 bpd increase in our crude oil exports to Vietnam."
He also said that Kuwait exported 500,000 tons of diesel to Vietnam last year.
Commenting on global crude prices, Sabah said current prices were in the right range and that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was unlikely to change output quotas at its Oct 14 meeting in Vienna.
"I believe there will be no changes to OPEC policy in the foreseeable future," he was quoted as saying.
Benchmark US crude rose above $80 on Friday to a seven week high after stronger than expected US and Chinese economic data. [O/R]
He said: "China and India - the world's fastest growing economies - drive oil demand high, but on the other hand, oil consumption in Europe and North America remains limited due to their slow economic growth."
He added: "Once the growth in the regions picks up to the certain level, we will see a jump in oil demand, and then crude prices may rise." (Reuters)For all the latest Kuwait news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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