SOCHI, Russia, May 15 (Reuters) - Russia's top crude producer Rosneft will pump $27 million into exploration of an area off the Vietnamese coast after signing a production-sharing agreement with state oil and gas company PetroVietnam, Rosneft chief Igor Sechin said on Wednesday.
Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, is building Rosneft into a global oil major, partnering with ExxonMobil, BP or Statoil to tap their drilling know-how and gain access to fields outside Russia.
It already has stakes in an offshore gas block and an underwater pipeline in Vietnam among a number of foreign projects it inherited in its $55-billion takeover of BP joint-venture TNK-BP earlier this year.
Sechin told reporters that Rosneft has secured approval for one more block in Vietnam approximately 20 kilometres away from the former BP project.
He did not specify whether the new block held gas or crude.
Sechin also said he had offered Petrovietnam the option of taking part in the development of 8 blocks in the Pechora Sea, off Russia's northern coast, and was also examining a host of projects in Eastern Siberia with the Vietnamese firm.
Recoverable resources in the Pechora Sea blocks amounted to around 117 million tonnes of oil and some 70 billion cubic meters of gas, he said.
(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Patrick Graham) Keywords: RUSSIA ROSNEFT/VIETNAM
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