With nearly 40 years of operation and development, Vietnam's oil and gas industry has produced almost one billion barrels of crude oil and 300 billion cubic feet of natural gas, as well as attracted over $5 billion (US) of foreign capital for the petroleum exploration and production. Furthermore, a large amount of capital has been invested in the downstream sector and related infrastructure.
Vietnam's continental shelf covers an area of approximately one million square kilometers, comprising seven major Tertiary basins and group of basins: Song Hong, Phu Khanh, Cuu Long, Nam Con Son, Malay-Tho Chu basins and Hoang Sa, Truong Sa group of basins.
Vietnam's Exclusive Economic Zone is divided into more than 100 blocks with an average 5,000 square kilometers for each.
Vietnam ranks third in Southeast Asia for petroleum resources. Oil and gas are anticipated in almost 50 fields and prospects, with reserves of approximately 4.5 billion barrels of oil and 23 tcf gas.
Oil has been discovered and produced from seven fields in Cuu Long, Nam Con Son and Malay-Tho Chu basins, with gas being exploited from five fields in Song Hong, Cuu Long, Nam Con Son and Malay-Tho Chu basins.
Annual crude oil and natural gas output reached 130 mmbo and 200 bcf gas in 2004.
Vietnam's continental shelf constitutes of a system of the Tertiary basins, situated within a transitional zone from the continental crust of the Indochina Craton to the sub oceanic crust of the eastern deepwater area. They are all rift basins and have similar development history.
Recent study indicated that the estimated oil and gas resources, both onshore and offshore Vietnam are 6.5-8.5 billion barrels of oil and 75-100 tcf gas.
Following is a brief summary of Vietnam's active or potential petroleum provinces:
Song Hong Basin: Estimated to contain approximately 10 percent of the country's total hydrocarbon resources (around 2.5 billion boe). Exploration results show that the basin's potential is mainly gas. Even now only one marginal onshore gas field is producing.
We predict that two-three medium/large size gas fields will be found, especially in the basin's offshore southern part.
Phu Khanh Basin: This deepwater basin is estimated to contain 15 percent of the country's total hydrocarbon resources (around 3.5 billion boe). An exploration licensing round has been conducted for nine blocks in this area. It is anticipated that two-three contracts will be signed and three-four oil/gas fields will be discovered during the five-year exploration.
Cuu Long Basin: The major target to date for oil production in Vietnam, it is estimated to contain 30 percent of the country's total hydrocarbon resources (7-8 billion boe). Currently five oil/associated gas fields are producing in the basins (95 percent of the country's total oil production, 85 percent of which is from fractured basement, Vietnam's most well-known reservoir).
Another two oil fields and one gas field are being developed. We also expect to discover two-three oil fields in the basin.
Nam Con Son Basin: The basin is estimated to contain 20 percent of the country's total hydrocarbon resources (around 4.5 billion boe). Currently one oil field and two gas fields are under production. The basin is probably gas-dominated. About three-five fields are expected, especially in the basin's deepwater part (eastern) and Vietnam-Indonesian border area (south-southwestern part).
Malay-Tho Chu Basin: This is the Vietnamese part of Malay Basin, is estimated to contain 10 percent of the country's total hydrocarbon resources (around 2.5 billion boe). Besides the group of oil fields is being produced, a series of gas fields are developed. It is predicted that two-three oil and gas fields will be discovered.
Frontier Areas: The area include parts of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa group of basins, and it is estimated to contain 15 percent of the country's total hydrocarbon resources (around 3.5-4 billion boe). Due to the difficult conditions, exploration might be focused in some prospective small acreages of interest.
In the period of 2005-2010, our strategy for oil and gas industry development in Vietnam will be focused on two major goals:
- To speed up exploration work on the whole continental shelf of the country, with expectation to discover 7-10 new oil and gas fields in order to secure national energy demand. In the production sector, we hope to maintain the oil production from current fields and increase triple gas production from developing fields (Eight oil and gas fields are being developed, and production shall be commenced in this period).
- To concentrate on construction of infrastructure, especially to develop the gas market (power plants, petrochemical plants) to meet with potential gas supply. To reduce the dependence from imported oil products, we plan to complete the first refinery with capacity of around 50 million barrels p.a. and commence the second.
For 2005, we hope to complete the first deepwater licensing round and expect to sign two-three contracts in this area and two-three contracts in other open blocks. Development work for four gas fields should deliver gas in 2006-2009. In production, we plan to double volume of the Su Tu Den oil field, Vietnam's second largest oil field, and keep the production at around 150 mmbo and 250 bcf gas.