Vietnam refinery boosts production amid concern on fuel import costs

(Reuters) - Vietnam's Binh Son refinery has ramped up its production to meet domestic fuel demand and was operating at 109% of its designed capacity, the government said on Thursday.

The 130,000-barrel-per-day facility, owned by Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical accounts for a third of Vietnam's demand for refined petroleum products.

"The refinery could increase its operations further, to 110% of capacity, to stabilize the market," Binh Son deputy chief executive Cao Tuan Si said in a government statement.

It comes days after several filling stations in southern Vietnam closed or limited their sales, citing financial difficulties, according to state media.

The government said the refinery in central province of Quang Ngai sold 5.8 MM cubic meters of fuel in the first nine months of this year, and its inventory is running low.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Industry and Trade asked the State Bank of Vietnam to help local fuel traders have better access to foreign currencies to pay for imports, as they face steep increase in prices.

Vietnam's refined fuel imports in the first nine months of this year rose 22.7% from a year earlier to 6.52 MMt, but the import value rose 131% to $6.8 B, according to government customs data. (Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Martin Petty)

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