Eni Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni signed an agreement with Do Van Hau, the president of Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, known as Petrovietnam, in Hanoi. Both sides would carry out studies that would examine the unconventional resource potential.
"With this agreement, Eni takes another step forward in its strategy of strengthening its presence in Asia, a region with very high growth potential that presents great opportunities in terms of upstream and the market," the company said in a statement.
The CIA World Fact Book estimates that Vietnam in 2011 produced 318,000 barrels of oil and 300 billion cubic feet of gas per day.
Eni said the offshore Song Hong basin in the Gulf of Tonkin holds about 10 percent of Vietnam's hydrocarbon reserves, mostly in the form of natural gas.