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TNK-BP Considering Vietnam Block After Bidding for Conoco Assets

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- TNK-BP, Russia’s third-largest oil producer, is considering bidding in a Vietnam licensing round and expects to hear from ConocoPhillips about a bid for assets there as it seeks to expand in the Southeast Asian country.

“We have not made a decision yet,” Alexander Dodds, executive director for exploration and production, told reporters in Moscow today, referring to a licensing round for nine blocks that ends Dec. 9. TNK-BP’s board meets this week.

TNK-BP is seeking to expand outside Russia to boost oil and gas production as domestic legislation favors state-controlled OAO Gazprom and OAO Rosneft. The venture bought $1.8 billion of assets in Vietnam and Venezuela this year from BP Plc, a 50 percent shareholder, and agreed in October to pay $1 billion for a stake in 21 exploration blocks in the Brazilian Amazon.

ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, said in May it plans to sell its stake in three oil and natural-gas assets in the South China Sea as part of its own program to fund share buybacks and growth.

TNK-BP hasn’t received an answer from ConocoPhillips, Dodds said. “We did put a bid in,” he said. “Hopefully, we will hear soon.”

TNK-BP may favor the licensing round over the ConocoPhillips assets, Mikhail Slobodin, executive vice president of TNK-BP’s gas division, said on Nov. 23. “It’s unlikely we will buy this asset,” Slobodin said at the time. “It is too big for the start of our operations in Vietnam in terms of expansion.”

The TNK Vietnam unit aims to increase output through joint ventures and acquisitions as well as current assets, General Director Hugh McIntosh told reporters in Hanoi on Nov. 21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Bierman in Moscow at sbierman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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