The refinery is one of 28 Vietnamese projects in downstream oil, power plants, finance and real estate for which Petrovietnam Chairman Dinh La Thang was in Tokyo seeking investment.

The projects are worth a total of $23.79 billion, according to a Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) official.(For a factbox on the projects

Tokyo Electric Power Co said it and Petrovietnam signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together in the Vietnamese firm's planned coal-fired thermal plant projects, but declined to specify the names of the projects.

Petrovietnam will give priority to Japanese firms' investments, Thang told reporters, noting that Japan is a long-time strategic partner to Vietnam with advanced technologies.

But if Japanese firms cannot meet its request for investment it would also ask firms in other nations, such as Russia and South Korea, Thang said.

Petrovietnam is asking Japanese investors to take a 71 percent stake in the $7-$8 billion Long Son refinery project.

Thang also said work is likely to start on Vietnam's second refinery, the 200,000-bpd Nghi Son plant, around July 2011.

Partners for the second refinery include Kuwait Petroleum International and Japan's Idemitsu Kosan Co, each with a 35.1 percent stake.

On Tuesday, Petrovietnam also signed MOUs with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp for cooperation in such areas as long-term finance arrangements.

Reuters - June 24, 2010