March 18, 2020 / 9:51 AM / 11 days ago

UPDATE 1-PetroVietnam says considers stockpiling oil amid low prices

(Adds details and background)

By Khanh Vu

HANOI, March 18 (Reuters) - Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, known as PetroVietnam, said on Wednesday it was considering stockpiling crude oil amid low prices while exploring measures to cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

“PetroVietnam is seeking to cut costs and expand its export market and will consider increasing the purchases of crude oil for stockpiling when the prices bottom,” the company told Reuters in an emailed statement.

The company said it was “greatly impacted” by the coronavirus but did not provide further details.

Global Brent crude prices have slumped more than 60% since the start of the year to below $30 a barrel, the lowest in more than four years.

“The group is building appropriate plans to respond to any scenarios of the impact (of coronavirus) on its financial resources, labour and product output,” PetroVietnam said.

Weeks after declaring the recovery of all 16 of its coronavirus sufferers, Vietnam has confirmed 68 infections, but no deaths, after authorities announced a surge in infections from overseas.

Vietnam announced on March 17 that it would introduce mandatory quarantine for all visitors from the United States, Europe and ASEAN countries and suspend the issue of new visas for all foreign nationals. (Reporting by Khanh Vu; Additional reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Alex Richardson and David Clarke)

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