VIETNAM'S PETROLIMEX HOPES TO OVERTURN LEADED GASOLINE LAW

VIETNAM'S PETROLIMEX HOPES TO OVERTURN LEADED GASOLINE LAW

Vietnam's national oil trading firm, Petrolimex, is expected to continue importing leaded gasoline despite a law banning vehicles from using the leaded grade, which was put into effect Tuesday, a Petrolimex source said.

The ban is part of a new traffic law introduced by the country's communications and interior ministries two months ago.But as the clause banning the use of leaded gasoline was not conspicuous, Petrolimex did not realize it until one month after the new law was announced, the source said.

This was why Petrolimex continued to buy 83-octane gasoline with a lead content of 0.15 grams per liter in its latest tender for July-September delivery, he said.

Petrolimex has given its recommendations to the deputy minister of energy and commerce for submission to the lawmakers, explaining why Vietnam should continue using leaded gasoline at least until the year 2000.

Its main argument is that most of its Asian neighbors, some more industrialized than Vietnam, still use leaded gasoline.

Petrolimex is confident that the ban will be overturned to allow it to continue importing leaded gasoline, the source said.

But if the legislators fail to be persuaded, Petrolimex will be forced to change its gasoline import pattern to the unleaded grade starting

from the fourth quarter, he added.

He also noted that Vietnam gradually is shifting to cleaner fuels. In fact, the lead content of gasoline has been reduced from 0.4 grams per liter, while the octane number also might be raised to 85 to 87 ron, the source said.