State-backed PetroVietnam and Italian major Eni inked a joint venture agreement which paves the way for the latter to enter into partnerships for coal bed methane and shale oil exploration projects in Vietnam. Studies to ascertain Vietnam's unconventional hydrocarbon potential will be carried out by a mixed PetroVietnam-Eni team
The latest agreement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two companies in January, which allows for PetroVietnam to acquire shares in international areas and blocks where Eni owns the rights to exploration and development. Eni, which has been awarded rights to participate in offshore blocks 114,120 and 105-110/04, will start exploratory drilling works in June this year. Eni gained access into blocks 105-110/04 and 120 when it purchased 25% stakes of the blocks from Neon Energy and KrisEnergy in June last year.