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Vietnam's second refinery to begin exports in June


VIETNAM'S second oil refinery Nghi Son, which is expected to be fully operational by early August, will export its first petrochemical products later this month, the plant's chief executive officer said on Thursday.

The 200,000-barrel-a-day (bpd) facility, owned by Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical LLC, is already running at 55 per cent capacity as it is undergoes a long startup process, said chief executive Turki Al-Ajmi.

Nghi Son is scheduled to export its first batches of petrochemical products later this month, including benzene and paraxylene, he added.

The facility, when fully operational, will deliver around 720,000 cubic metres (560,000 tonnes) of petroleum products and 150,000 tonnes of petrochemicals a month, making a significant impact on domestic and regional markets, he said.

Nghi Son, which is expected to reduce the country's reliance on refined product imports, sold its first batches of petrol and diesel last month.

Vietnam's first refinery, the 130,000 bpd Dung Quat plant that started production in 2009, and Nghi Son, when it is fully operational, will be able between them to meet about 70 per cent of the country's demand for refined fuel products.

Deputy chief executive officer Dinh Van Ngoc said on Wednesday that the startup process at Nghi Son is "going smoothly without any technical problems".

The new refinery is designed to process mostly crude oil imported from Kuwait. Vietnam is struggling to maintain its own crude oil and gas output amid declining production from key fields and ongoing pressure from China over disputed areas in the South China Sea.

The US$9 billion Nghi Son refinery, 260 km south of Hanoi, is 35.1 per cent owned by Japan's Idemitsu Kosan Co , 35.1 per cent by Kuwait Petroleum, 25.1 per cent by state-run PetroVietnam and 4.7 per cent by Mitsui Chemicals Inc.

Nghi Son will sell all of its petrol, diesel products and liquefied petroleum gas on the local market, while other products, including petrochemicals, will be exported.

Vietnam imported 5.56 million tonnes of refined fuels in the first five months of this year, up 11 per cent from a year ago, according to the government's General Statistics Office. REUTERS

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