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Vietnam - Country Energy Analysis Brief (EIA)

February 2005

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Vietnam has the potential to become a regional oil and natural gas supplier. Ongoing exploration has led to several oil and gas discoveries in recent years.

Note: Information contained in this report is the best available as of February 2005 and is subject to change.

Map of Vietnam.  Having problems contact our National Energy Information Center at 202-586-8800 for help.GENERAL BACKGROUND
Vietnam’s economy has expanded rapidly in recent years, with its real gross domestic product (GDP) growing 7.2% in 2003 and 7.7% in 2004. Growth is forecast at 8.1% in 2005. Vietnam has had Normal Trade Relations status with the United States since late 2001, with 2002 marking the first time Vietnam shipped more goods to the United States than to Japan .

Much of Vietnam ’s large population relies heavily on non-commercial biomass energy sources such as wood, dung, and rice husks. As a result, Vietnam’s per capita commercial energy consumption ranks among the lowest in Asia. The country’s commercial energy consumption is predicted to rise in coming years, primarily due to increases in the use of natural gas.

Vietnam claims ownership of the potentially hydrocarbon rich Spratly Islands , as do the Philippines , Brunei , Malaysia , China , and Taiwan . Vietnam also claims the Paracel Islands , which China first occupied in 1974.

Vietnam has 600 million barrels of proven oil reserves, but that total is likely to increase as exploration continues. Crude oil production averaged 403,300 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2004, making Vietnam the third-largest oil producer in Asia. Bach Ho (White Tiger), Rang Dong (Dawn), Hang Ngoc, Dai Hung (Big Bear), and Su Tu Den (Ruby) are the largest oil producing fields in the country. Although it is a significant oil producer, Vietnam remains reliant on imports of petroleum products due to a lack of refining capacity. Overall, Vietnam had net exports of 193,300 bbl/d of oil in 2004. Export markets include the United States , Japan , Singapore , and South Korea .

Vietnam ’s largest oil producer is Vietsovpetro (VSP), a joint venture (JV) between PetroVietnam and Zarubezhneft of Russia. VSP operates Vietnam ’s largest oil field, Bach Ho. In December 2004, the Vietnamese government gave VSP permission to develop approximately 10.5 million tons of crude oil in 2005, primarily from the Bach Ho field. Other foreign partners include ConocoPhillips, BP, Petronas, and Talisman.

Following the October 2003 commencement of drilling operations in the Su Tu Den (Black Lion) crude field, PetroVietnam reported increasing production volumes. PetroVietnam’s April 2003 discovery of an oil deposit in Dai Hung, estimated to have a capacity of 6,300 bbl/d, was expected to further increase Vietnamese production. In January 2005, however, the Vietnamese government announced that its 2004 record oil production of 401,548 bbl/d may fall to 352,000 bbl/d in 2005 due to decreases in output at Bach Ho and Su Tu Den to prolong the life of the fields.

The planned development of several new oil fields in coming years is expected to increase Vietnamese production. A new well at Block 15-1’s Su Tu Trang (White Lion) field flowed 8,682 bbl/d in early 2004 and is scheduled to be developed by 2008. In October 2004, Japanese oil companies Nippon Oil Exploration (35% interest), Idemitsu Kosan (35%), and Teikoku Oil (30%) announced plans to fund the development of Blocks 05.1b and 05.1c in the Nam Con Son Basin. Two months later, the Korean National Oil Corporation (KNOC), along with several Korean partners, finalized terms for the $300 million development of Block 11-2, which includes the Flying Orchid Field. PetroVietnam has a 25% interest in the JV.

Exploration in Vietnam continues to yield new discoveries. In 2002, large oil and gas deposits were discovered in the Ca Ngu Vang (Golden Tuna) and Voi Trang (White Elephant) fields. SOCO Vietnam estimates that its Ca Ngu Vang well may contain up to 250 million barrels of oil. In July 2004, VSP discovered new stocks of oil in its Dragon field. Three months later, a JV comprised of American Technologies, Petronas , Singapore Petroleum, and PetroVietnam announced a 100-million-barrel oil discovery off Vietnam ’s northeast coast.

In September 2004, the Vietnamese government offered nine exploration blocks in the Phu Khanh basin off its southern coast. In November 2004, Japanese oil companies Nippon Oil Exploration, Idemitsu Kosan, and Teikoku Oil signed an agreement to explore in two offshore blocks southeast of Ho Chi Minh City . They plan to drill a test well in 2006 and complete exploration by 2007. In December 2004, Talisman was awarded the right to conduct exploration in the Cuu Long Basin . Bids on the blocks will conclude in March 2005.

PetroVietnam’s storage and transportation division, Petrolimex, plans to build a new oil storage facility in the central Khanh Hoa province by January 2006. The depot will be the largest in the country, with a total storage capacity of 3.68 million barrels.

Vietnam is in the process of building its first refinery. The $1.5 billion Dung Quat Refinery, located in Quang Ngai province, will have a capacity of approximately 140,000 bbl/d. Although the facility was originally scheduled for completion by late 2002, delays over securing finance and the terms of construction have pushed back completion, and the plant may not be fully operational until 2007. Vietnam ’s distribution infrastructure is discontinuous, with the north and south of the country functioning largely as separate markets. Completion of the Dung Quat Refinery, located in the center of the country, should lead to greater interaction between the regions.

A second refinery project is under consideration at Nghi Son, north of Hanoi in the Thanh Hoa province. The Vietnamese government has estimated the 150,000 bbl/d plant will cost $3 billion. In August 2004, Mitsubishi Corporation agreed to participate in building Nghi Son for completion in 2010. In December 2004, Vietnam contracted the International Business Company (IBC) of the British Virgin Islands to conduct a feasibility study for a third oil refinery, to be located at Vung Ro in the southern Phu Yen province. The Vietnamese government hopes to complete the refinery within 12 years.

Vietnam has proven gas reserves of 6.8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), but is expected to contain up to 10 Tcf. Vietnam’s natural gas production and consumption are rising, with further increases expected as additional fields come onstream. Natural gas is currently produced entirely for domestic consumption. The Cuu Long basin, a source of associated gas from oil production, is the largest Vietnamese natural gas production area.

Only two fields in Vietnam have been developed specifically for their natural gas potential: Tien Hai, with a potential output of 1.76 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d); and Lan Tay/Lan Do of Nam Con Son, which began producing over 5 Mmcf/d in 2002. In the Nam Con Son Basin , a $565 million, 230-mile pipeline was completed in June 2002 connecting the Lan Tay and Lan Do fields to the mainland at Vung Tau. The Nam Con Son project consists of five subsea wells linked to a production platform and a pipeline leading to an onshore treatment plant. Gas is piped to three generating plants at the Phu My industrial complex, where electricity is provided primarily to areas surrounding Ho Chi Minh City . By April 2004, the pipeline was flowing approximately 282 Mmcf/d, 42% of its total capacity. In December 2004, the Vietnamese government announced that output from Nam Con Son was expected to reach 88 billion cubic feet (Bcf), exceeding planned production by 90%. The project currently supplies the Phu My 1, Phu My 3, Phu My 2.1 power plants and the extended Phu My 2.1 plant. The Phu My 4 plant is running on a trial basis until mid-2005, after which time it will permanently depend on output from Nam Con Son. Phu My 2.2 will begin using output from the field soon thereafter.

In December 2002, a consortium headed by Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) signed an agreement to install facilities to pump and supply 130 Mmcf/d of natural gas to Vietnam . The natural gas, located in the Rong Doi and Rong Doi Tay fields on Block 11-2 of the Nam Con Son Basin , will be purchased by PetroVietnam for 23 years. PetroVietnam is expected to sell the natural gas to Electricity of Vietnam (EVN). Sales will commence in mid-2005 when KNOC expects to bring the Rong Doi field online via the Nam Con Son pipeline system. In December 2004, KNOC and PetroVietnam signed agreements to further exploit natural gas in both Blocks 11 and 12.

The Su Tu Den and Rang Dong oil fields, both of which have considerable Vietnamese reserves of associated natural gas, are located near the 62-mile pipeline from the Bach Ho field. An estimated 60 Mmcf/d of gas from the fields is earmarked for consumption in power plants in southern Vietnam .

Both TotalFinaElf and Unocal have found natural gas in exploratory drilling of the Malay basin. Additionally, Talisman Energy has found natural gas at the Cai Nuoc field in block 46. The discovery is close to block PM-3-CAA, which straddles the maritime border with Malaysia , and is expected to contain up to 100 Bcf of recoverable gas reserves.

In May 2004, PetroVietnam and Thailand ’s state-owned oil & gas conglomerate, PTT PCL, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on conducting a feasibility study to build a natural gas pipeline network in southern Vietnam . The study is scheduled for completion in late 2005, with investment to build the pipeline commencing in 2006.

In December 2004, PetroVietnam announced that it was reconsidering the $70 million Phu My gas pipeline project from Phu My to Nhon Trach due to increased expenses associated with land costs in compensation areas. The pipeline was initially planned to transport associated gas from the Bach Ho and Rong fields for power generation. EVN’s first power complex in Nhon Trach will be complete in 2009, with two other complexes to be finished in 2012 and 2014.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Vietnam is a growing exporter of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Japan , the major consumer of Vietnamese LPG exports, received Vietnam ’s first LPG shipment in May 1999. Vietnam ’s LPG sector opened to foreign companies in 1998. Saigon Petro, Elf Gas, Petrolimex, and Mobil Unique (a consortium of Mobil, Mitsui, and Unique Gas & Petrochemical), and PTT of Thailand are the major companies involved in the sector. The foreign-owned Dinh Co liquefaction plant, which utilizes gas from the Bach Ho field, is the only local producer of LPG in Vietnam .

Vietnam contains coal reserves estimated at 165 million short tons (Mmst), the majority of which is anthracite. Production has increased dramatically, with Vietnam producing over 14 Mmst in 2002, 11 Mmst more than in the previous year. As a result, Vietnam exported a record 5 Mmst of coal, primarily to Japan and China , in 2002. Other export markets for Vietnamese coal include Thailand , the European Union, Mexico , and Brazil . Vinacoal hopes to produce 30 Mmst of coal in 2005, exporting at least 11 Mmst.

Although Vietnam has historically relied on hydropower for electricity, it has recently promoted the construction of coal-fired power plants. Vinocoal plans to build eight coal-fueled thermal power plants with a total capacity of 2,900 MW by 2010. Six are currently in various stages of planning and construction. In December 2004, the Vietnamese government approved Vinacoal’s proposal to invest in a 200-MW, coal-fired thermal power plant in the Son Dong district. The plant is scheduled to begin operation in 2007. Coal-fired power plants are expected to eventually account for 25% of Vietnam ’s total electricity production. The Vietnamese government estimates that 10.2 Mmst of coal is needed per year to meet increasing domestic demand, projected at 20,000 MW by 2010.

Vietnam continues to exploit new coal reserves within its borders. In March 2003, a significant coal bed was discovered in the Red River Delta region of northern Vietnam . Vinacoal plans to use the reserve for thermal power plants. In October 2004, Vinacoal entered talks with China ’s Fujian Province Coal Industry Corporation to jointly exploit the Bac Coc Sau mine in the Quang Ninh province.

Although Vietnam’s per capita electricity consumption is among the lowest in Asia , demand has risen in recent years, straining the country’s limited generating capacity. Rapid commercial sector growth, population migration to major cities, and elevated living standards have all contributed to a growing demand for electricity. In 2002, Vietnam had a total electric generating capacity of 8.3 gigawatts (GW) and generated 34.5 billion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity, of which 60% was hydropower.

Electricity demand in Vietnam is forecast to grow 15%-16% per year until 2010. Vietnam currently buys power from China to prevent shortages in the North, and plans to begin purchasing from Laos in 2008. In December 2004, Vietnam agreed to purchase 100 million kWh of electricity from China in 2005 to meet increased demand.

The majority of Vietnamese electricity is produced using coal-fired plants. EVN’s Pha Lai is the largest coal-fired power project in Vietnam , with the second of two 300-MW units coming into service in 2003. In order to meet increased demand, construction or expansion is planned for 32 power stations (7,547 MW) before 2010. The state power company, Eléctricité of Vietnam (EVN), plans to commission 16 hydropower plants by 2010, as well as increase capacity at the Uong Bi coal-fired plant to 400 MW in 2005. Vinacoal also has plans to construct eight additional coal-fired power plants.

In January 2005, EVN announced intentions to increase electricity production by 20% within the year and to increase generating capacity to 11,400 MW in 2005 (and 17,500 by 2010). Although only 87% of households currently have access to electricity, the figure is expected to rise as a result of World Bank support for the Rural Energy II project, which will begin in 2005 and continue for seven years. A $220 million World Bank loan for the project is designed to bring power to 2.5 million households. The first Rural Energy project brought electricity to approximately 500,000 households from 2001 to the end of 2004.

Vietnam currently has five hydroelectric expansions underway. The country’s Son La project, anticipated to have a generating capacity of 2,400 MW by 2012, will be the largest hydroelectric project in Vietnam when completed. In September 2004, construction began on the Ban Ve hydroelectric power plant, expected to begin operations in 2008. EVN began work on four additional hydroelectric projects in late 2004. The Dong Nai 3 and Dong Nai 4, both located in the Central Highlands region, are expected to be completed within four years and to provide approximately 520 MW of generating capacity. In December 2004, EVN began construction of the Se San 4 hydropower plant in the central highlands provinces of Gia Lai and Kon Tum. The plant is anticipated to have a capacity of 330 MW and to generate 1,390 million kWh per year. Vietnam also plans to build three additional plants in the region before 2010.

In March 2004, EVN announced plans to spend $1.3 billion to build and refurbish power plants with a combined capacity of 1,510 MW. The projects include the combined cycle power plant Phu My 2.1, the hydroelectric facility Can Don, the Phu My 3 and Phu My 4 thermal plants, and Na Duong. Additional projects include the Song Ba Ha, Bac Binh, Se San 4, Dong Nai 3 and Dong Nai 4 hydrostations, the Quang Ninh, Ninh Binh extension, and the O Mon 600-MW thermal plant.

In March 2004, the Vietnamese government approved construction of the 2.4-GW Son La hydroelectric project to begin in October 2005. One third of the $2.3 billion investment has been earmarked for the resettlement of families living in the 44,700 hectares to be flooded by the reservoir. The plant is expected to be operational by 2015.

The development of natural gas-fired plants in the Phu My complex of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau province has helped to offset Vietnam ’s heavy reliance on hydropower. In March 2003, the 720-MW Phu My 3 power plant commenced operations. The $450 million plant, owned by a consortium led by UK ’s BP, was Vietnam ’s first foreign-invested, build-operate-transfer (BOT) project. EVN has contracted to purchase the output under a 20-year power purchase agreement. When fully completed in 2005, the Phu My complex will provide an estimated 47% of the country’s power.

More foreign companies are beginning to enter the growing Vietnamese power market in the form of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects. EVN and a consortium including Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), Sumitomo, and Eléctricité de France (EdF) began BOT construction of the Mekong Delta’s 715-MW Phu My 2-2 in January 2003. The plant is fueled by gas from Nam Con Son Basin .

EVN plans to develop a national electricity grid by 2020 by patching together several regional grids. The country’s distribution infrastructure is poorly maintained, but has benefited from recent improvements. A North-South power cable transmits electricity from Vietnam ’s largest generator, the Hoa Binh hydropower plant in the North, to large population centers in the South, linking the country into one electricity grid and helping alleviate electricity shortages in Ho Chi Minh City . The $56 million project was funded by the World Bank. Vietnam is considering the construction of a 500-KV, 188-mile power line from Pleiku to Danang city at a cost of $130 million. The Vietnamese government has estimated that an additional 9,300 miles of high voltage transmission lines and 173,600 miles of medium and low voltage transmission lines will be necessary to accommodate new capacity by 2010. In September 2004, EVN announced plans to invest $330 million over five years to upgrade transmission lines surrounding Hanoi .

Vietnam plans to complete its first nuclear power plant by 2020 as an alternate means on meeting demand. In December 2004, the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology submitted a pre-feasibility study for the 2,000-MW nuclear plant to the National Assembly.

Vietnam has great solar potential, and renewable energy consumption is on the rise. Under a solar power cooperation program between Solarlab, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eléctricité de France, and the European Union, the “Vietnamese-French Friendship Solar Station” was installed in Ho Chi Minh City to provide electricity for the provinces of Gia Lai, Quang Nam , and Binh Phuoc. The Mekong Delta, Central Highlands , and northern mountainous regions have the greatest need for solar power.

Chief of State: President Tran Duc Luong (since September 1997)
Head of Government: Prime Minister Phan Van Khai (since September 1997)
Independence: September 2, 1945 (from France)
Population (2004E): 82.7 million
Location/Size: Southeast Asia/127,545 square miles, slightly larger than New Mexico
Major Cities: Hanoi (capital), Ho Chi Minh City, Haiphong, Da Nang, Can Tho, Nha Trang, Hue, Nam Dinh, Vung Tau
Languages: Vietnamese, English, French, Chinese, Khmer, tribal languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Ethnic Groups: Vietnamese (85-90%), Chinese, Hmong, Thai, Khmer, Cham, mountain groups
Religion: Buddhist (70%), Christian (predominately Roman Catholic) (10%), Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, indigenous beliefs, Muslim

Currency: Dong (VND)
Official Exchange Rate (1/18/05): US$1 = 15,782 Dong
Nominal Gross Domestic Product at Market Exchange Rate (2004E): $45.3 billion
Real GDP Growth Rate (2003E): 7.2% (2004E): 7.7% (2005F): 8.1
Inflation Rate (2003E): 3.1% (2004E): 7.7% (2005F): 5.7%
Merchandise Exports (2004E): $25.3 billion
Merchandise Imports (2004E): $30.9 billion
Merchandise Trade Balance (2004E): -$5.6 billion
Major Export Products: Crude oil, marine products, textiles and garments, shoes, fisheries products, footwear, rice, coffee, rubber, tea
Major Import Products: Petroleum products, machinery and equipment, tractors, tires, steel products, foodstuffs, fertilizer, cement, cotton, textiles, sugar, motorcycles
External Debt (2004E): $14.7 billion

Proven Oil Reserves (Oil and Gas Journal; 1/1/05E): 600 million barrels
Oil Production (2004E): 403,300 barrels per day (bbl/d)
Oil Consumption (2004E): 210,000 bbl/d
Net Oil Exports (2004E): 193,300 bbl/d
Natural Gas Reserves (Oil and Gas Journal; 1/1/05E): 6.8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf)
Natural Gas Production (2002E): 79.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf)
Natural Gas Consumption (2002E): 79.8 Bcf
Coal Reserves (2002E): 165 million short tons (Mmst)
Coal Production (2002E): 14.4 Mmst
Coal Consumption (2002E): 9.1 Mmst
Net Coal Exports (2002E): 5.3 Mmst
Electric Generation Capacity (2002E): 8.3 gigawatts (GW)
Electricity Generation (2002E): 34.5 billion kilowatthours (34% thermal, 60% hydroelectric)

Minister of Ministries of Science, Technology and Environment: Hoang Van Phong
Total Energy Consumption (2002E): 0.87 quadrillion Btu* (0.21% of world total energy consumption)
Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions (2002E): 51.9 million metric tons (0.2% of world total)
Per Capita Energy Consumption (2002E): 10.8 million Btu (vs. U.S. value of 339.1 million Btu)
Per Capita Carbon Dioxide Emissions (2002E): 0.7 metric tons (vs. U.S. value of 20.0 metric tons )
Energy Intensity (2002E): 4,271 Btu/$1995 (vs U.S. value of 10,619 Btu/$1995)**
Carbon Dioxide Intensity (2002E): 0.34 metric tons/thousand $1995 (vs U.S. value of 0.63 metric tons/thousand $1995)**
Fuel Share of Energy Consumption (2002E): Oil (44.2%), Hydroelectric (24.2%), Coal (22.2%), Natural Gas (9.5%)
Fuel Share of Carbon Dioxide Emissions (2002E): Oil (52.7%), Coal (37.6%), Natural Gas (9.6%)
Status in Climate Change Negotiations: Non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (ratified November 16th, 1994 ). Signatory to the Kyoto Protocol (signed December 3, 1998 ; ratified September 25, 2002 ).
Major Environmental Issues: logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and over fishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City .
Major International Environmental Agreements: A party to Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution and Wetlands. Has signed, but not ratified, the Nuclear Test Ban.

* The total energy consumption statistic includes petroleum, dry natural gas, coal, net hydro, nuclear, geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste electric power. The renewable energy consumption statistic is based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data and includes hydropower, solar, wind, tide, geothermal, solid biomass and animal products, biomass gas and liquids, industrial and municipal wastes. Sectoral shares of energy consumption and carbon emissions are also based on IEA data.
** GDP figures from OECD estimates based on purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates.

Organization: State-owned PetroVietnam reports to the Industry Ministry after a May 2003 reorganization that removed PetroVietnam’s independent ministerial ranking. The company was reorganized in 1990 and now oversees the activities of eight subsidiaries that control functions such as administration, exploration and production, marketing (PetroVietnam Processing and Distribution Company (PVPDC)), training, gas production and distribution (Vietgas), petrochemicals, and information collection.
Major Foreign Oil Company Involvement: BHP, BP, Conoco, Enterprise, Fina, Idemitsu, IPL, Japan National Oil, Mitsubishi, Mobil, Nexen, OMV, Occidental, Pedco, PetroCanada, Petronas Carigali, Statoil, Sumitomo, TotalFina

Sources for this report include: BBC Monitoring International Reports; CIA World Factbook; Economist Intelligence Unit; Global Insight; Petroleum Economist; Petroleum Intelligence Weekly; Saigon Times Daily; U.S. Department of State; U.S. Energy Information Administration;; Vietnam Investment Review; Vietnam News Briefs; World Markets Analysis.


For more information from EIA on Vietnam , please see:
EIA - Country Information on Vietnam

Links to other U.S. Government sites:
CIA World Factbook - Vietnam
U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Fossil Energy - Vietnam
U.S. State Department Consular Information Sheet - Vietnam
U.S. State Department Country Commercial Guide - Vietnam

U.S. State Department Country Background Notes - Vietnam
U.S. Embassy in Vietnam

The following links are provided solely as a service to our customers, and therefore should not be construed as advocating or reflecting any position of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) or the United States Government. EIA does not guarantee the content or accuracy of any information in linked sites.

Vietnamese Embassy in the United States
World Bank Information on Vietnam
World Bank, Alternative Energy Support in Asia
Regional Wood Energy Development Programme in Asia on Vietnam
Viet Nam News

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File last modified: February 1, 2005

Contact: Lowell Feld
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