June 17, 2009 / 4:07 PM / in 10 years

Gazprom Vietnam JV starts exploration drilling

MOSCOW, June 17 (Reuters) - Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) has started drilling its first exploration wells on Vietnam’s offshore block 112, its overseas subsidiary Zarubezhneftegas said on Wednesday.

The company said the drilling programme is expected to last 14 months and foresees the drilling of six exploration wells.

State-controlled Gazprom last year signed an agreement with Vietnam’s state oil monopoly Petrovietnam to explore four new offshore blocks.

Another Russian oil firm Zarubezhneft, a pioneer in communist Vietnam’s oil industry, is already a long-time partner with Petrovietnam in their 50/50 venture Vietsovpetro, which produces more than 8 million tonnes per year (160,000 barrels per day) on offshore fields in Vietnam.

Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by William Hardy

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