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Energy

PV Gas seeking strategic foreign partner for 30% divestment by 2020

Shell, Total, Tokyo Gas among contenders, over $3bn in project investments planned

PV Gas's distribution center in the northern province of Thai Binh.

HO CHI MINH CITY -- PetroVietnam Gas (PV Gas), a leading state-owned Vietnamese energy company, is seeking government approval for a divestment plan to sell 30% of its stock to a strategic partner by 2020. 

Le Nhu Linh, the company's chairman, told reporters on Tuesday that approval is expected for investment from an existing PV Gas partner.  

Linh said that apart from augmenting state coffers, the state-owned company is looking for technological inputs to enhance the efficiency of its core business and increase transparency.

PV Gas has worked for many years with foreign partners like Shell, an Anglo-Dutch concern, and the French oil and gas company Total. Since 2012, it has also had a comprehensive business relationship with Japan's Tokyo Gas. All three companies have shown interest in partnering PV Gas. 

The state currently owns 95% of PV Gas, and plans to reduce this to 65% by 2020. Existing foreign ownership is just 3.31%. 

PV Gas has been studying the recent share auctions of Vietnam Dairy Products and Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage (Sabeco) to help with its own divestment. It also revealed at a recent meeting that it has set aside $3.5 billion for investment projects, including gas fields, pipelines, storage facilities, and imported capital equipment.  

PV Gas currently draws gas from four fields -- Cuu Long, Nam Con Son, PM3, and Thai Binh -- for an aggregate output in recent years of more than 9 billion cu. meters of gas, more than 1 million tons of liquid petroleum gas (LPG), and over 70,000 ton of condensate. 

Depletion of the gas fields is an increasing concern with demand for electricity projected to grow at between 8% and 10% until 2020, making increased imports a necessity. Since 2017, PV Gas has accelerated gas-related infrastructure to handle imports, which will become dominant in the next five to ten years. More than 80% of PV Gas production goes to local power plants, and over 30% of its LPG is exported to Cambodia.  

Last year, PV Gas achieved 64.8 trillion dong ($2.85 billion) in consolidated revenue and 9.8 trillion dong in net profit, year-on-year increases of 9% and 37%, respectively. The positive performance was helped by the rising crude oil price, which was 10% higher than the projected price of $50 a barrel, according to a company representative.

Assuming an average oil price of $50 a barrel in 2018, PV Gas projects 55.7 trillion dong in revenue with 6.4 trillion dong in net profit, respective increases of 8% and 23% from last year's targets. 

(Nikkei)

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