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PetroVietnam, ExxonMobil expect first gas from Ca Voi Xanh field in 2021


State-owned PetroVietnam and US' ExxonMobil expect to produce first gas from the Ca Voi Xanh gas field off central Vietnam by 2021, PetroVietnam said in a statement Thursday.

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"Under the most favorable conditions, the project can pump first gas by about 2021," PetroVietnam said.

PetroVietnam Chairman Nguyen Xuan Son discussed the project with ExxonMobil Vice President Raymond E Jones in Washington on Wednesday.

Son urged the two companies to work closely with each other on finding gas users, setting gas prices and other commercial issues for the project.

The chairman also asked ExxonMobil to use its advanced technologies to effectively produce the project's gas, which has a high CO2 content, and look for ways to lower expected production cost and gas prices.

PetroVietnam said it will work the Vietnamese government to develop a plan for new regional power plants, which will buy gas from the project.

It will also urge the government to approve "the most reasonable prices" for the gas from Ca Voi Xanh.

The field is estimated to hold 3-10 Tcf of natural gas resource, ExxonMobil spokeswoman Kim Jordan said in October.

The gas field, located in the South China Sea about 80 km (50 miles) off the coast between Vietnam's Quang Nam and Quang Ngai central provinces, should be the biggest gas discovery in Vietnam so far.

ExxonMobil said in 2011 that it found hydrocarbons while drilling in the field, then encountered additional hydrocarbons in the area in July 2012.

The US energy giant signed a framework heads agreement with PetroVietnam in July 2013 for evaluating potential development of the Ca Voi Xanh resource.

The Ca Voi Xanh field is near the site where state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. in May 2014 operated its deepwater drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou 981, igniting long-simmering tensions between the two countries over the sovereignty of offshore oil and gas resources.

--Dao Dang Toan,
--Edited by Meghan Gordon,