Vietnam to increase coal, natural gas imports amid tight domestic supply Import & Export,  Production & Sales,  International 2020-10-15 08:59:45

Vietnam will substantially increase imports of primary energies such as coal and natural gas from now to 2030 to meet development needs, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

At present, primary energies are exhausting domestically and cannot meet demand of electricity generation.

Vietnam is changing from an energy exporter to a net importer. Its coal and natural gas imports are growing along with rising investment and fuel purchase costs, showed the latest statistics of the ministry.  

As coal mining becomes difficult, Vietnam domestic coal production is not enough to satisfy the demand of thermal power plants. So, coal imports have increased substantially, said the ministry.

Vietnam's coal production fell for the fifth consecutive month in August to 3.33 million tonnes, the lowest since August, 2019, according to data from the General Statistics Office.

Preliminary statistics released by the customs showed that Vietnam (including foreign-invested enterprises) imported 5.13 million tonnes of coal in August, up 5.75% on a yearly basis and rising 16.6% from July. The imports totaled 40.62 million tonnes over January-August, jumping 37.01% over the same period of the previous year.

Vietnam is increasingly reliant on imported thermal coal for generating power. In 2019, its coal imports surged 2.3 times year on year to 43.85 million tonnes.

Imports of coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) will increase year by year.

The onshore natural gas output for household consumption kept at 8.5-10.2 billion cubic meters per year during 2010-2019. As gas fields reduce in the southeast region since 2022, gas production is expected to fall drastically from 11 billion cubic meters in 2022 to less than 3 billion cubic meters in 2030, according to the ministry.

This means that Vietnam will have to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) for power generation. By 2030, Vietnam may need import more than 10 million tonnes of LNG annually.

In the long run, Vietnam's imports of energy products will keep rising and its dependence ratio on imported energy products will reach 33-37% by 2025 and further rise to 50-58% by 2035, the ministry predicts.

(Writing by Shengnan Liu  Editing by Tammy Yang)
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