Vietnam to cut off gas supplies to power plants

By    September 5, 2016 | 11:46 pm PT
The Nam Con Son pipeline fires up more than 20 percent of the country's power demands.

State utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has announced plans to cut natural gas supplies to power plants that generate about 22 percent of the country’s electricity, but without issuing a reason.

The pipeline takes natural gas from the Nam Con Son Basin to feed power plants in southern provinces including Phu My in Ba Ria – Vung Tau and Nhon Trach in Dong Nai.

These two gas-fired power plants alone currently produce up to 5,300 mega watts per year, accounting for 13.5 percent of the country’s electricity output and 40 percent in the southern region, according to EVN.

The company plans to run the power plants on diesel from September 5-19 to produce about 309 million kilowatt hours.

EVN said it will use natural gas from the PM3-CAA field between Vietnam and Malaysia to supply other plants in order to limit power cuts in the southeastern part of the country- areas served by the plants that will be off-line or running under-capacity due to the shutdown.

During the dry season, coal, which has taken over from hydropower as the leading source of electricity in Vietnam, is expected to generate 41 percent of the total output, according to estimates by Vietnam Energy, while natural gas will make up about 28 percent of domestic power output this year.

Vietnam’s electricity output during the first eight months of 2016 increased 11.2 percent on-year to 117.1 billion kWh, said the utility group last Saturday.

EVN estimates that this year’s total output will rise by 11.4 percent from last year to 160 billion kWh.

Vietnam plans to import about 950 million kWh from China to meet the domestic power needs in 2016, down 44 percent from 2015.

Average energy consumption in Vietnam grew 13 percent from 2006-2010, and by about 11 percent from 2011-2015, said Le Tuan Phong, deputy head of the General Directorate of Energy, adding that the country is on the path towards powering itself by 2030.

The country’s power production is expected to grow at an annual rate of 14 percent between 2015 and 2030.

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