Gas industry set to triple in size over next 15 years
  • | VnEconomy | November 12, 2010 10:26 AM

Vietnam\'s natural gas sector is set to triple in size over the next 15 years if Government objectives are achieved, a workshop in Hanoi was told yesterday.

Alain Barbu, acting country director of World Bank, told the workshop on the Vietnam gas sector development framework that the boom in natural gas would come from a solid foundation.

From virtually nothing, natural gas had started to take off in 1995 with the development of gas associated with oil production from Bach Ho oil field, Barbu said.

Gas now met more than 15 per cent of the country\'s primary energy demand and had spawned an interconnected industry of strong State-owned enterprises and private investors, he said.

The industry had developed challenging offshore natural gas fields, transmission pipelines and offshore power stations, fertiliser plants and industrial facilities.

Some 88 per cent of the gas was currently consumed in the power sector and gas-fired generation accounted for 40 per cent of total electricity supply, he said.

The next phases of development would open up new producing areas and enable another major expansion of efficient natural gas-fired power plants to help meet Viet Nam\'s rapidly growing demand for power.

These additional supplies of clean energy, complementing other developments in the hydroelectric, coal and renewable energy areas, would be critical in enabling Vietnam\'s economic growth of around 8 per cent a year to be maintained, Barbu said.

There was much to do to ensure that such developments happened, he said. To meet Government objectives for the sector – which could mean a three-fold increase in consumption to as much as 24 billion cubic metres a year by 2025 – Vietnam\'s natural gas sector institutions must strengthen their capabilities and the country\'s energy market needed to be developed in a manner that benefited both buyers and sellers of gas.

These parallel developments were critical because the gas sector must attract significant public and private investment. PetroVietnam estimated that US$30-billion in investment from 2006-25 would be needed to develop offshore petroleum and natural gas resources and bring them to market.

The Vietnam gas sector development report said Vietnam\'s natural gas sector had tremendous potential which could be realised by 2025 with concerted and co-ordinated efforts by public agencies and their private partners.

The result would be a sector that provided fairly priced, high quality services for gas consumers of all types, provided a sustainable and profitable business opportunity for Vietnam and foreign investors, and helped make the country one of the world\'s most competitive and efficient economies, the report said.

This would translate directly into sustained economic growth permanent poverty reduction, good environmental stewardship and steady advances in quality of life.

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