The Russian Energy Ministry is considering an opportunity of building an oil refinery in Laos and an oil pipeline from Laos to Vietnam, Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday on the air with Rossiya 24 TV Channel.

“An agreement is reached to consider in a longer term construction of the oil refinery in Laos and the oil pipeline from Laos to Vietnam to support deliveries of oil products to Vietnam within the framework of fields development and refining,” the Minister said.

Natural gas may be delivered from Vietnam in its turn, Novak added.

Russian company mulls taking stakes in Vietnam oil refinery

According to the minister, Gazpromneft is still considering the possibility of taking a stake in an oil refinery in Vietnam.

“There is such an issue on the agenda. As you may understand, the situation on the world market has changed somewhat. So has the project’s economic future. Previously, there were plans for using benefits. There is some uncertainty regarding that aspect of a future decision. The issue is still on the agenda. Gazpromneft is interacting with its Vietnamese partners. Economically effective terms of joining the project are being devised,” Novak said.

Earlier, Gazporomneft reportedly declared the intention to quit talks with Vietnam’s state oil and gas corporation Petrovietnam on acquiring a 49%-stake in the country’s sole oil refinery Zung Kuat.

In November 2013 Gazpromneft and Petorvietnam clinched a framework deal to lay down the basic principles of purchasing a share in the Zung Kuat refinery and its subsequent upgrade. Gazpromneft’s likely investments in the project were estimated at $1-1.5 billion.

Gazpromneft had the intention of acquiring the 49%-stake from the company Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical – the operator of the Zung Kuat refinery – and eventually upgrading the facility to the capacity of the refinery, build in 2008, from the current 6.5 million tonnes to 10-12 million tonnes a year.

Gazpromneft decided against launching this project when Vietnam’s Industry and Trade Ministry said the refinery would lose preferential import tariffs after the ten-year operation period expired in 2018. Preferential tariffs were the Russian partner’s key requirement. At the same time the company does not rule out it may purchase some shares of Vietnam’s oil refinery after its corporatization, due later this year.