The National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) notched up a total revenue of nearly 95 trillion VND (5 billion USD) in the first quarter of this year, an impressive growth of 76 percent compared with the same period last year.

2.1 billion USD of this was from crude oil exports. The figures were reported at a seminar to review the group's business performance over the first three months.

Le Minh Hong, PetroVietnam's deputy director general, attributed the good performance to higher prices of crude oil in the global market and rising earnings from its oil and gas services, finance, insurance and construction.

The cost of crude oil in the first quarter this year averaged at 79USD per barrel, 35 USD higher than the corresponding period last year.

According to PetroVietnam chairman Dinh La Thang, services accounted for roughly 40 per cent of its entire turnover.

PetroVietnam contributed about 27 trillion VND (1.4 billion USD) to the State Budget during the period, a year-on-year increase of 35 per cent.

"To hit such revenue, the group has boosted its production. It churned out 3.59 million tonnes of crude oil, 2.3 billion cu.m of gas, 2.9 billion kWh and 192,000 tonnes of fertiliser," Hong said.

The country's first oil refinery – Dung Quat – in the central Quang Ngai province, an affiliate of the group, run on trial during the period, produced around 979,000 tonnes of petroleum products.

PetroVietnam also invested 17 trillion VND (894.7 million USD) on projects including Hua Na power plant, Lot B O Mon gas pipeline, bio-ethanol factories and other projects related to oil and gas exploitation.

Thang said at the seminar that to ensure national energy security, the group plans to exploit 14.4 million tonnes of crude oil in Vietnam and 600,000 from abroad (through oil and gas shared product contracts with foreign partners such as Malaysia and Venezuela).

However, Dung Quat would consume 5 million tonnes of crude oil and the remainder would be for export, Thang said.

PetroVietnam has enhanced clean fuel production such as bio-ethanol. It has built three bio-ethanol factories in the provinces of Phu Tho, Quang Ngai and Binh Phuoc. Each mill has an average capacity of 100 million litres per year.

"To ensure power supply during the dry season, PetroVietnam has decided to delay its repair and maintenance plans of its power factories until June instead of April and May and the group has also held discussions with Electricity of Vietnam to resolve the problem," Thang said.

As an effort to help rein in inflation, Thang promised that the group would closely coordinate with Petrolimex, the leading importer and supplier of petroleum products for the local market, to ensure an appropriate increase in the retail price of petrol as the global market recovers this year./.