Work underway on first ever national energy master plan

By Anh Minh   August 28, 2020 | 07:17 pm PT
Work underway on first ever national energy master plan
An oil drilling platform in Vung Tau, southern Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/TommyTeo.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is set to draft a national energy master plan as Vietnam shifts from being an energy exporter to a net importer.

The ministry held a workshop Friday afternoon to discuss the plan, for 2021-30, the first time the government has worked on something like this. In the past energy planning used to find passing reference in sectoral strategies.

A report by the ministry's department of oil, gas and coal said the global trend is to focus on promoting energy transition, adopting strict policies to combat climate change and enhancing energy security.
As a country relying on energy imports, Vietnam would increasingly be affected by global trends, it said.

Besides, as a responsible member of the international community, Vietnam must implement its commitments to combat climate change, it added.

Ngo Thuy Quynh, deputy director of the department, said: "With our increasingly deep participation in the global supply chain, Vietnam will have to face both advantages and disadvantages in [developing its] energy system to meet the demands of socio-economic development."

At the workshop, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Dang Hoang An dwelled on the difficulties in drafting the energy master plan. A government decree says there "must be enough energy for socio-economic development, but the price must be reasonable," to ensure economic competitiveness.

On the other hand, global trends in technology, especially new, renewable energy sources, and energy usage habits have changed significantly, An said.

"Therefore, the accompanying logistics infrastructure, mechanisms and policies for sustainable energy development will be very important in ensuring energy supply for development."

Tran Manh Hung, head of the Institute of Energy’s department of energy economics, demand forecast and management, said in the plan, energy demand would be calculated and forecast for all energy-consuming sectors of the economy, including industry, agriculture, commerce, and transport.

The plan would also develop infrastructure planning options for the four main sub-sectors, coal, oil and gas, electricity, and renewables, he added.

Discussing the oil and gas sector, Nguyen Anh Duc of the Vietnam Petroleum Institute said many targets in the gas industry however have yet to be met: production of liquefied petroleum gas is less than 50 percent, while petrochemical production only meets 25 percent of demand.

"Procedures, legal frameworks, and policy mechanisms for the oil and gas sub-sector need to be comprehensive in the energy master plan to attract investment in oil and gas exploration in deep offshore areas," he said.

The plan is expected to be submitted to the government by the end of the year.

Five of its planned 14 chapters have been completed, including current status assessment, implementation status of energy sub-sectors in the past, forecasting energy development scenarios, and the current status of energy use and energy saving in Vietnam.

The ministry is expected to wrap it up by October.

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