Putin Seeks Stronger Energy and Security Ties with Vietnam

HANOI, June 20, 2024 – During his visit to Vietnam on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted Russia’s keen interest in partnering with Vietnam on energy and security. This comes as Russia looks to strengthen ties with Asia following Western sanctions due to the Ukraine conflict.

Boosting Energy and Gas Sector Cooperation

Speaking alongside Vietnamese President To Lam in a televised news briefing, Putin emphasized the importance of working together in the energy and gas sectors. “We will increase the efficiency of cooperation on these projects to create favorable conditions for the work of our companies,” he said.

In a separate meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Putin shared that Russia is ready to set up long-term supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Vietnam. This move highlights Russia’s commitment to deepening its economic relationship with Vietnam through sustained energy partnerships.

Longstanding and Future Energy Projects

Russia and Vietnam have a long history of working together in the oil and gas industry. The joint venture Vietsovpetro, formed in 1981, has been a major player in this field. Owned 49% by Russia’s Zarubezhneft and 51% by Vietnam’s PetroVietnam, Vietsovpetro has produced 250 million barrels of crude oil from Vietnam’s offshore fields. However, the venture is now facing challenges due to shrinking oil reserves.

Looking ahead, Zarubezhneft has secured an investment license for developing offshore hydrocarbon block 11-2. Additionally, Russia’s largest LNG producer, Novatek, has signed a memorandum of understanding with PetroVietnam. Despite this, analysts from Moscow-based BCS brokerage expect Novatek to focus on its domestic projects in the Arctic over the next three to five years, delaying any new projects in Vietnam.

Strategic Shift to Asia

Putin’s visit to Vietnam follows the signing of a mutual defense agreement with North Korea, highlighting Russia’s strategic interest in Asia amid its geopolitical isolation from the West. Strengthening the partnership with Vietnam is part of Russia’s broader strategy to build a reliable security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region.

This visit and the resulting agreements signal a deepening of Russia-Vietnam relations, with energy and security cooperation at the forefront. As Russia continues to navigate international sanctions, building stronger ties with Asian countries like Vietnam becomes increasingly important for its economic and geopolitical strategy.

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