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Russia, Vietnam Boost Oil Cooperation

Kremlin foreign policy aide Sergei Prikhodko closing doors opened too early before a meeting Friday with Manh. Sergey Ponomarev

Zarubezhneft is looking to increase its cooperation with Vietnam, including boosting the crude reserves of their RusVietPetro joint venture, an executive for the Russian state oil producer said Sunday.

"I hope that RusVietPetro's recoverable reserves will far exceed 100 million [metric] tons," Zarubezhneft first deputy chief executive Viktor Gorshenev said, Interfax reported.

The company, registered in 2008, is 51 percent owned by Zarubezhneft with the rest belonging to Vietnam's state-run PetroVietnam. It now has recoverable reserves of 95 million tons in the Nenets autonomous district.

RusVietPetro plans to produce its first ton of oil there in the third quarter, with production reaching 1 million to 1.2 million tons per year, Gorshenev said.

Nikolai Brunich and Phung Dinh Thuc, the chief executives of Zarubezhneft and PetroVietnam, signed a number of cooperation agreements in Moscow on Sunday following meetings Friday between President Dmitry Medvedev and Nong Duc Manh, the general secretary of Vietnam's Communist Party.

Zarubezhneft and PetroVietnam will sign a contract to develop part of Vietnam's southern shelf when Medvedev visits in late October, Gorshenev said.

On Friday, Medvedev awarded Manh the Pushkin Medal for his contributions to building ties between their countries. The two discussed closer cooperation in energy and culture, the Kremlin said in a statement.

"We understand the importance of the oil produced by VietSovPetro in the 1980s and 1990s," Manh said Sunday, Interfax reported. The company's production accounts for 18 percent of the country's gross domestic product and 40 percent of all the oil it extracts, he said.

VietSovPetro was created as a 50-50 joint venture between Zarubezhneft and PetroVietnam in 1981.

The venture exceeded its planned production volume for the first half of the year and could top the full-year output target of 6 million tons, Gorshenev said. Production will edge up to 6.14 million tons in 2011 before peaking in the next few years and falling to 5.9 million tons in 2015.

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