Kuwaiti crude exports to Vietnam’s new Nghi Son refinery have been on the rise since the second quarter, reflecting start-up activity at the complex.

The latest departures comprise two VLCCs of medium sour Kuwait Export Crude (KEC) loaded in July that are expected to arrive in Vietnam during August, Vortexa data show.

Tankers Marina M and Pacific Voyager departed this month from Kuwait’s Mina Al-Ahmadi and are due to arrive on 13 August and 5 August, respectively. They are both declaring Thanh Hoa as their next destination, located near the Nghi Son refinery.

The Nghi Son refinery was designed to process solely Kuwait’s KEC, and flows to Vietnam are observed to have risen since April amid start-up works at the new refinery.

The Nghi Son refinery will be Vietnam’s largest, with up to 200,000 b/d capacity, and is second to the existing 140,000 b/d Dung Quat refinery.

The refinery is a joint venture project comprising state-controlled PetroVietnam, state-owned KPC subsidiary Kuwait Petroleum International and Japanese firms Idemitsu Kosan and Mitsui Chemicals.

The new refinery will increase middle distillate and gasoline availability in the Asia-Pacific region as it ramps up towards full commercial operation, and could particularly reduce Vietnam’s gasoline importing needs.

It also comes at a time when gasoline exports from China have been rising significantly this year—including to record levels during the first half—following refinery capacity additions there.