Conoco signs agreement for offshore Viet Nam exploration

Conoco Inc. and partners PetroVietnam and Korean National Oil Corp. said they signed a contract last week to begin exploration of Block 16-2 near Bach Ho oil field off Viet Nam.

Conoco will serve as operator during the exploration phase and will form a joint operating company once development begins. It holds a 40% interest in the 1,114 sq mile area, where it will begin a 3D seismic survey by the middle of this year.

The contract marks Conoco's fourth project with PetroVietnam and the second project on which it has partnered with both companies. The company earlier this year acquired a 30% interest in the producing Rang Dong oil field in Block 15-2, located in the shallow water of Cuu Long basin. Conoco said the interest added immediate earnings and proved reserves to its portfolio.

The firm also holds an interest in Block 15-1 in the Cuu Long fairway. That block's first exploratory well will be drilled in mid-2000.

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