Vietnam to start importing natural gas in 2021

By Anh Minh   September 12, 2019 | 11:46 pm PT
Vietnam to start importing natural gas in 2021
Pressure vessels containing liquefied gas are seen at a plant of PetroVietnam Gas. Photo courtesy of PetroVietnam Gas.
Vietnam has to import 1-4 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas a year in 2021-25 to meet the growing power demand.

Phung Van Sy, an official of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's coal and oil department, announcing this at a conference Thursday, said the imports would rise to 6-10 billion cubic meters from 2026.

The reason is Vietnam’s current gas production capacity of 8 billion cubic meters a year would start declining from 2023, he added.

Doan Hong Hai, an official of the ministry’s department of electricity and renewable energy, said Vietnam plans to triple its gas-fired power generation capacity from 7,200 MW now to 19,000 MW by 2030, which means it would need 22 billion cubic meters a year by then, with 50 percent imported.

Vietnam is set to follow other countries in Southeast Asia in importing LNG. Thailand was the first to import in 2011, while Indonesia, a former exporter, will start importing after 2020.

The country’s rapidly growing economy makes it hungry for power as its hydropower potential has almost been fully exploited and oil and gas and coal reserves are running low.

It is set to face power shortages as early as next year since many projects are being delayed, the trade ministry said in June.

Vietnam would need to raise $150 billion by 2030 to develop its energy sector as demand is set to grow by 8 percent a year for the next decade, the World Bank said last year.

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