HANOI, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp’s Blue Whale gas project, Vietnam’s biggest, could start in November, Vietnam Television (VTV) reported on Tuesday.

The Blue Whale field has an estimated 150 billion cubic metres of reserves. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Exxon Mobil on Tuesday he hoped to have the project starting officially at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November when U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. government officials are expected to attend, state-run VTV reported.

Vietnam is trying to switch to cleaner energy from coal-fired power plants. The country is also planning solar and wind power plants.

Jon Gibbs, Exxon Mobil’s vice president in Asia Pacific and Middle East, said the U.S. company aimed to produce the first gas for Vietnamese power plants in 2023, VTV reported.

PetroVietnam, Exxon Mobil’s Vietnamese partner, has said the project would contribute nearly $20 billion to the state budget.

Exxon Mobil established an exploration and exploitation unit in Vietnam that distributes lubricant and petrochemical products, a Vietnamese government news website said.

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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