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Russia has signed a number of energy deals with Vietnam during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Hanoi on November 12, taking an important step in boosting energy cooperation with South East Asian countries.

Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom and the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) will create a joint venture – PVGAZPROM Natural Gas – to promote gas as vehicle fuel in Vietnam. PetroVietnam’ s subsidiary PV Gas will have a 50% stake in the joint venture; Gazprom’s subsidiaries – Gazprom Gazomotornoye Toplivo and Gazprom International – each will hold a 25% stake.

Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Gazprom, and PetroVietnam have agreed to jointly invest in Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Co Ltd for modernizing the Vietnamese firm’s Dung Quat oil refinery in Quang Ngai province.

The modernization program will increase the capacity of Dung Quat from the current 6.5 million tonnes to 10-12 million tonnes within one year and upgrading the refinery’s motor fuel production to meet the Euro-5 standard, Gazprom Neft said in a press release on its website.

Meanwhile, Gazprom Neft is in price negotiations with Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical over acquiring a 49% stake in the Vietnamese firm.

Another Russian energy firm, Rosneft, signed an agreement with PetroVietnam for jointly exploring hydrocarbons in the Pechora Sea off northwest Russia. Both companies also signed a Memorandum of understanding for Rosneft to acquire a stake in the Production sharing agreement (PSA) for the Block 15-1/05 in the Vietnamese offshore area.