The country imported 7.37 million mt of oil products last year, down 19.9% from 2012, customs data released late last week showed. It imported 9.2 million mt in 2012, down from 10.67 million mt in 2011.

The value of the imported oil products totaled $6.98 billion, down 22% from 2012. Vietnam does not reveal its annual oil products consumption data.

State-owned Petrolimex, which accounts for over half of Vietnam's domestic market, skipped its quarterly oil product purchases several times in 2013 due to ample stocks amid low demand, Platts reported earlier.

The country's sole refiner PetroVietnam produced 6.6 million mt of oil products in 2013, up 17.8% from 2012, according to the latest data released by the state-owned company. Apart from the 130,000 b/d Dung Quat refinery in central Vietnam, the country's oil products supply comes from some condensate processing plants in the southern province of Ba Ria Vung Tau.

"In 2013, Binh Son Refining and Petrochemicals has maintained stable operations for Dung Quat at its designed capacity in 498 days," General Director Dinh Van Ngoc said earlier this month.

In 2014, Vietnam's domestic output of oil products is expected to fall with PetroVietnam having said that it aims to produce 4.6 million mt, down 30% from 2013, largely due to planned maintenance at the Dung Quat refinery over May 19-July 9. SINGAPORE, CHINA TOP OIL PRODUCT SUPPLIERS

Singapore and China remained the top suppliers of refined products to Vietnam in 2013.

Imports from Singapore, however, fell 46.2% year on year to 2.03 million mt while supplies from China remained almost flat at 1.29 million mt.

Vietnam imported 687,000 mt of oil products in December last year, up 22.2% from December 2012, according to customs data released on Friday. Compared with November, imports were up 26.2%.

The value of the imports in December totaled $668 million, up 24.8% year on year and up 28.6% from November.

Taiwan accounted for 20% of the oil product imports in December with 137,763 mt, followed by South Korea with 126,372 mt and China with 123,931 mt. Singapore ranked fourth with 109,337 mt. CRUDE OIL EXPORTS RISE

Meanwhile, Vietnam exported 680,866 mt of crude oil in December, up 11% from a year earlier but down 17.2% from November. The value of the exports totaled $610 million, up 16.2% year on year but down 16.1% from November.

Vietnam exported 231,533 mt of crude oil to Japan in December, 150,102 mt to Australia and 2,493 mt to Malaysia.

In the whole of 2013, Vietnam exported 8.4 million mt of crude oil, down 8.8% from 2012, and the exports were valued at $7.2 billion, down 11.4% from the year before.

Its major customers all saw a drop in supplies in 2013. Vietnam exported 784,316 mt of crude oil to China in 2013, down 33% year on year; 2.42 million mt to Japan, down 15.7%; and 1.89 million mt to Australia, down 3.6% from 2012.

The country imported 93,105 mt of crude oil for its Dung Quat refinery in December 2013, up 10.2% from a year earlier and up 5.9% from November last year. The imports were valued at $82 million, up 17.1% from December 2012 but down 3.3% from November.

In the whole of 2013, Vietnam imported 1.29 million mt of crude oil, up 77.2% from 2012, valued at $1.1 billion, up 70.4%. Most of the crude oil came from Brunei (718,154 mt) and Malaysia (218,696 mt).

By Dao Dang Toan - Platts - January 20, 2014