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Amoco Hopes To Reach Vietnam Oil Deals By End Of Year

September 28, 1994

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ Amoco Production Co. is pursuing two oil and gas exploration contracts in Vietnam that could make it the next U.S. company to drill off the country’s coast, a company executive said Wednesday.

″We hope that by the end of the year we will know one way or the other on one or both projects,″ said James Devaney, a senior petroleum engineer with Amoco’s worldwide exploration group. Amoco Production Co., based in Houston, is part of Amoco Corp., headquartered in Chicago.

At least one of the projects probably would require Amoco to buy a share of an existing production sharing contract held by a foreign firm, Devaney said. Other American oil and gas companies could also be competing for the same deals, he said, declining to give further details about the possible contracts.

Amoco’s arrival would make it the sixth American company to announce deals with Vietnam’s state-run oil monopoly, PetroVietnam, since President Clinton lifted the 19-year U.S. economic embargo against Hanoi in February.

Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO), Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Mobil Corp. all began drilling off Vietnam’s southeastern coast during the past three months. Kerr-McGee Corp. and Union Texas Petroleum have bought into existing exploration contracts.

But firms interested in negotiating with PetroVietnam must contend with some of the toughest contract terms set by any government in East Asia, Devaney said. Competition among Western oil companies here is fierce, as Amoco and others consider Vietnam one of the last undeveloped frontiers for oil and gas in Asia, he added.

Devaney spoke at Vietnam Oil & Gas Expo’ 94, a trade exhibition in Hanoi sponsored by PetroVietnam. Amoco is the only large exploration company among the nine U.S. firms with exhibits at the show, which opened Wednesday.

Devaney said Amoco wasn’t overly concerned about an offshore territorial dispute between Vietnam and neighboring China. Beijing claims a large section of the sea bed that PetroVietnam has already awarded to several international companies, including Mobil, Occidental, and ARCO.

″That’s the kind of risk you have anywhere you’re close to a border,″ he said. Amoco already operates in Chinese waters in an area called Liu Hua 11-1, 130 miles southeast of Hong Kong.

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