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STATE-RUN OIL MONOPOLY PLANS TO BUILD ITS FIRST 2 REFINERIES

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Vietnam's state-run oil monopoly Petro-Vietnam hopes to build its first two refineries by the year 2000, a company official said Monday.

One of the refinery projects, now under study by a foreign consortium, will probably be built at a deep water bay at Van Phong, Kanh Hoa province, 242 miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, said refineries specialist Ngo Duong Hung.The second will be built at a site still to be chosen in the northern part of the country, he said.

Petroleum is Vietnam's leading export, but the country must import all of its gasoline, diesel fuel and other refined products.

The government has made development of a refining industry a strategic priority, both to increase self-sufficiency in energy and to create the basis for domestic chemical and fertilizer industries.

Vietnam's first refinery, estimated to cost $1.2 billion, is scheduled to be built within four or five years and have an annual capacity of 6.5 million tons, Hung said. The Chinese Petroleum Corp. and China Investment and Development Co., both of Taiwan, as well as France's Total SA, are now studying the project's feasibility.

The second refinery will have an annual capacity of more than 5 million tons, Hung said. He had no more details on the project.