The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) has said that it will continue monitoring global oil prices closely in order to adjust oil exploration and production, ensuring national energy security as well as the group's economic benefits.

At a meeting in Hanoi on December 30, PetroVietnam Chairman Pham Xuan Son said the whole economy is benefiting from declining oil prices. While revenue from oil exports can shrink, profits will increase in other sectors.

"It's not good to see the oil price plunging too low, but at 60-70 USD per barrel, it's not a big deal," Son said.

However, he added that if global oil prices fall below 60 per USD barrel, PetroVietnam will consider stopping production at the oil fields where production cost exceeded sales price.

The average production cost at most PetroVietnam oil fields is around 30-37 USD per barrel, according to Son. At four oil fields, production cost is more than 60 per barrel USD but the production capacity there is small, only around 450,000 tonnes in 2015.

PetroVietnam produced 17.39 million tonnes of oil in 2014, an increase of 7.3 percent over the group's yearly target, while gas production for the first time hit 10.2 billion cubic metres, 7.4 percent over the target. Oil and gas reserves also surpassed the goal by 37.5 percent this year to reach 48.11 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

The group discovered nine new oil and gas places and began exploration at eight.

PetroVietnam Deputy General Director Le Minh Hong said the group met all business targets ahead of schedule despite the difficult domestic and global economic environment.

The whole group, including affiliates and subsidiaries, saw revenue of 745.5 trillion VND (34.8 billion USD), exceeding the target by 11.8 percent. Revenue of the group itself was 370 trillion VND (17.3 billion USD). Total profit was 46 trillion VND (2.1 billion USD). The group contributed 178.1 trillion VND (8.3 billion USD) to the State Budget.

Production of electricity, fertiliser and petroleum exceeded targets by 5-23 percent. Electricity production reached 16.48 billion kWh, a rise of 5 percent over the plan. Fertiliser production hit 1.64 million tonnes, up 7.7 percent, and petrol production reached 5.71 million tonnes, up 23.2 percent.

In 2015, PetroVietnam aims to produce 26.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent, including 16.8 million tonnes of oil and 9.8 billion cubic metres of gas.

The electricity output target is set at 18.50 billion kWh, fertiliser production at 1.525 million tonnes and petrol production at 5.55 million tonnes.

The group also prepared revenue scenarios depending on global oil prices ranging from 515.1 trillion VND (24 billion USD) at the oil price of 60 USD per barrel to 718.4 trillion VND (33.6 billion USD) at the oil price of 100 USD per barrel.

On the issue of investment overseas, Son said overseas investment is a long-term strategy and should not be affected by short-term oil price fluctuations. However, the group will strengthen risk management for existing projects while seeking opportunities to buy oil fields overseas at cheap prices.-VNA