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Vietnam's state-owned Petro Vietnam Gas Corp (PV Gas) has launched an auction to sell a 15-20 percent stake in the company to raise about $600 million, with a source directly involved saying private equity firms are expected to show interest in the sale.

The auction may fetch bids from oil companies such as ConocoPhillips, India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) and Thailand's PTT Pcl PTT.BK among others, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Private equity firms that have invested in the sector such as Blackstone Group LP and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) are also expected to explore an offer.

The auction comes as PV Gas makes the final preparations for Vietnam's largest-ever initial public offering. PV Gas is selling about 5 percent of the company through the offering in an about $150 million deal that will give it a market value of about $3 billion.

PV Gas said it was scheduled to price the IPO on Nov. 17.

The company had set a Nov. 12 deadline for strategic investors to submit bids, PV Gas Chief Executive Do Khang Ninh told Reuters.

Potential suitors mentioned in this report either declined to comment or could not be reached for comment. The sources were not authorised to speak publicly because details of the auction are private.

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