PetroVietnam is to be one of the nation's leading groups, both inside and outside the country, with sharpened competitive edges and growth of up to 20 percent a year, according to a five-year plan approved by the Prime Minister.

The group aims to increase oil and gas reserves and petroleum exploration output by 35-40 million tonnes and 23-34 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year respectively.

By 2015, PetroVietnam would be able to produce about 16-17 million tonnes of refined oil, meeting 50-60 percent of domestic petrol demand and 60-70 percent of nitrogenous fertiliser demand.

By 2015, around 50-60 percent of materials demand for petrochemical and petrochemical products would be satisfied.

At the same time, the group would put three bio-fuel plants into operation while developing bio-fuel production and distribution systems nationwide.

Petroleum services would be encouraged to grow at an average rate of 20 percent per year, the plan says.

PetroVietnam was eligible to use foreign currencies for its investment projects or those carried out by its subsidiaries via service contracts, according to a new circular issued by the Ministry of Finance.

The circular said the group was allowed to use foreign currencies to contribute capital to joint ventures.

PetroVietnam could use foreign currencies to pay principal, interest and fees on its borrowings for those investment projects and other maturity debts.

The group was expected to collect foreign currencies from petroleum contract revenues inside and outside the country.

The new circular would not apply for PetroVietnam subsidiaries./.