India keen to buy BP’s Vietnam assets: Deora

India keen to buy BP’s Vietnam assets: Deora

Hanoi, Vietnam: With BP Plc looking at selling interest in some fields to fund its the Gulf of Mexico oil spill liability, India is pitching for buying the British energy giant’s stake in the $1.3 billion Nam Con Son gas project in Vietnam.

Oil minister Murli Deora flew to Vietnamese Capital on Wednesday morning with heads of bluechip Indian oil firms to lay a claim with Hanoi on BP’s stake in two offshore gas fields, a pipeline and power project - together referred as Nam Con Son, Vietnam’s largest gas project.

“This is a great opportunity for us. The gas fields were originally allocated to us but due to foreign exchange crisis of 1990s, we had to farm-out (give away) some stake to BP. We will like to get back that stake," Deora said ahead of his meetings with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and government-run PetroVietnam.

BP is considering selling fields in Colombia, Venezuela and Vietnam in order to meet the $20 billion clean-up bill of the worst US spill. It had in June announced a $10 billion asset sale programme to pay the costs of compensating victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by the blowout of the Macondo well in April.

China’s CNOOC and Sinopec, as well as Thailand’s PTTEP may also be interested in BP’s stake in the Vietnam project.

ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, already has 45% stake in the offshore gas fields where BP has 35% and the balance is with PetroVietnam.

A 370-km pipeline ships the gas produced from the fields to onshore power plants. BP has 32.33% stake in the $565 million pipeline where its other partners are ConocoPhillips (16.7%) and Petrovietnam (51%).