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Vietnam increases coal, oil imports

Vietnam has become an importer of coal, oil and gas, but experts have warned against a high reliance on imports.

Coal imports on the rise

Nguyen Ngoc Hung from the Institute of Energy said at a recent workshop on the nation’s energy development programing for 2021-2030 that Vietnam has been increasingly reliant on energy imports in recent years, with a sharp fall in coal exports and sharp increase in imports.

 

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In the seventh national power development plan (Plan 7), the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) pointed out that the total coal demand for electricity production in 2016-2030 is 1.4 billion tons, of which 735 million tons would be from domestic sources, while 650 million tons would be from imports.

Because of the difficulties in domestic exploitation, especially in the development of new mines, the domestic output is not enough to satisfy domestic power plants which use anthracite.

In 2018, Vinacomin and Dong Bac Corporation began importing coal and mixed it with domestic coal to provide to power generation plants.

The coal Vietnam imports is low-quality coal used for electricity production, while the coal Vietnam exports is high-quality coal that Vietnam still doesn’t need to use.

In the seventh national power development plan (Plan 7), the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) pointed out that the total coal demand for electricity production in 2016-2030 is 1.4 billion tons, of which 735 million tons would be from domestic sources, while 650 million tons would be from imports.

Regarding the gas supply, MOIT said in 2010-2019, the gas output exploited ashore to serve consumers is 8.5-10.2 billion cubic meters a year, basically satisfying the demand of gas-fired power plants.

Under the plan, large gas fields such as Ca Voi Xanh would be put into exploitation in 2024, and B Block gas field in 2023. So, the gas output to be exploited ashore in 2020-2030 would be 11-16 billion cubic meters a year.

Under the adjusted Plan 7, the total capacity of gas-fired power plants by 2030 would be 27,000 MW.

Because of the decline of the gas fields in the eastern part of the southern region, after 2022 (the gas output would be decreasing rapidly from 11 billion cubic meters in 2022 to 3 billion cubic meters in 2030), Vietnam would have to import LNG for power generation. LNG imports are estimated to reach 10 million tons per annum by 2030.

Reliance

Head of the Central Economic Committee Nguyen Van Binh spoke about his concerns about energy imports at a high-level energy forum held on July 22.

Binh said domestic supply sources are not enough to satisfy demand. The oil and gas reserves in the nearshore area are getting exhausted. The coal reserves are still high, but the exploitation conditions are becoming more difficult.

It is estimated that reliance on energy imports would be 33-37 percent by 2025 and 50-58 percent by 2035. 

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