PetroVietnam denies bleeding red ink on crude oil sales to China

By Anh Minh   September 19, 2017 | 10:56 am GMT+7

The group dismisses data from Vietnam Customs as incorrect, and says that Chinese buyers are actually paying more than other markets.

State-owned oil and gas group PetroVietnam has refuted data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs that says the country lost up to $15 million from crude oil exports to China in the first eight months of this year.

According to the department, Vietnam exported 4.9 million tons of crude oil at $408 per ton to other markets, but only charged $400 per ton for the 1.7 million tons it exported to China.

PetroVietnam denied the claims on Monday, saying Vietnam does not earn less from selling crude oil to China compared to other markets.

Vietnam exports oil to China in two ways: directly selling the product to China through auctions, or selling it to an intermediary which then distributes the oil in China.

For direct sales, China's Unipec, the trading arm of state oil giant Sinopec, paid $733 million for 1.78 million tons of crude oil, or $412 per ton, to PetroVietnam during the first eight months.

On average, Vietnam received $405.3 for every ton of crude oil sold to China, both directly and indirectly, during that time, PetroVietnam stated.

This price is actually $2.9 per ton higher than what it charges other markets, the group said, again questioning the customs department's data.

To flesh out its argument, the state oil group said its export process is under the tight management of oil field operators in Vietnam.

“The auctions are transparent, the selling prices are always the highest price, and all data and information related to the auctions and exports of crude oil are reported to the authorities,” said PetroVietnam.