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Rosneft considers shipping 1 mln t of LNG per year to Vietnam - paper

MOSCOW, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Rosneft, Russia's top oil producer, is considering shipping super-cooled gas to Vietnam, further challenging Gazprom's export ambitions in Asia, the Kommersant daily reported on Wednesday citing sources.

Rosneft and Novatek, after actively lobbying to win the right to export export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia, should get the green light to do so from the start of next year.

State-controlled Rosneft has teamed up with ExxonMobil to build an LNG plant on Pacific Island of Sakhalin with initial capacity of 5 million tonnes per year. All volumes have been contracted by Vitol, Sodeco and Marubeni.

President Vladimir Putin visited Hanoi on Tuesday, clinching a number of energy deals.

Citing sources in the Russian delegation, Kommersant said that Rosneft was considering shipping around 1 mln tonnes of LNG annually to Vietnam from a $15-billion plant due to be launched in 2018. Rosneft declined to comment.

The paper added that Rosneft was also in talks to sell gas to South Korean Kogas, which also is considering buying gas from Gazprom via a proposed pipeline through North Korea - but the project is still on the paper.

Gazprom, which has only one LNG plant on the Pacific Island of Sakhalin with annual capacity of 10 mln t so far, is considering to increase exports to Asia thanks to Vladivostok LNG, a new plant to be launched in 2018.

Although gas consumption in Asia is set to rocket thanks to China's demand due to its growing economy and a long-term plan to switch to gas from coal, competition is intensifying for the regional gas market.

Gazprom has still to wrap up talks with China over pipeline gas supplies that are deadlocked on price. Novatek, meanwhile, has agreed to supply China National Petroleum Corp 3 mln tonnes of LNG a year from its Yamal LNG facility.