U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Country Analysis Note
- Over the past few decades Vietnam has emerged as an important oil and natural gas producer in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has boosted exploration activities, allowed for greater foreign company investment and cooperation in the oil and gas sectors, and introduced market reforms to support the energy industry. These measures have helped to increase oil and gas production. Also, the country's rapid economic growth, industrialization, and export market expansion have spurred domestic energy consumption.
- Recent, successful offshore exploration has contributed to a substantial increase in proved crude oil reserves, which grew to 4.4 billion barrels as of January 2012 from 0.6 billion barrels in 2011, according to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ). Reserves remained at 4.4 billion barrels in 2013 and 2014. Ongoing exploration activities could increase this figure in the future, as Vietnam's waters remain largely underexplored. Vietnam is currently the third-largest holder of crude oil reserves in Asia, behind China and India.
- Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, and Brunei each claim sovereignty over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. However, Vietnam has reached agreements with several of its neighbors to conduct joint exploration for oil and natural gas resources in the region. Disputes with China are yet to be resolved. As recently as May 7, 2014, tensions between China and Vietnam flared following a skirmish over a Chinese oil rig that Vietnam claims was planning to illegally drill into the Vietnam's continental shelf. In addition, on September 15, 2014, Vietnam and India agreed to expand joint upstream oil and gas activities in the contested waters of the South China Sea, despite China's objections.
- Vietnam produced around 353,700 barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil in 2013, which is roughly 3% less than what it produced in 2012 and 12% down from a peak of 403,000 bbl/d in 2004. The Cuu Long Basin has been the primary area for oil production.
- Vietnam is a net exporter of crude oil, but is a net importer of oil products. With oil consumption increasing year-over-year and overall by more than 70% from 238,400 bbl/d in 2004 to 413,000 bbl/d in 2013, the country must import a majority of refined products to satisfy demand.
- Vietnam has one operating refinery, the 140,000-bbl/d Dung Quat refinery, which came online in 2009. Vietnam's state-owned Vietnam Oil & Gas Corporation (PetroVietnam) is looking to boost crude distillation capacity to around 200,000 bbl/d by 2017 and to develop Dung Quat's ability to handle sweet and less expensive sour crude oil from Russia, the Middle East, and Venezuela. Vietnam plans to offer 49% of Dung Quat's equity to foreign investors in order to finance the upgrade and expansion of Dung Quat. In addition, the Nghi Son refinery, which is now under construction, is expected to come online in mid-2017 and the Vung Ro refinery, which will be designed by Japan's JGC Corporation, is expected to be completed in 2019.
- PetroVietnam is the key company in the oil and natural gas sectors and serves as the primary operator and regulator of the industry. Oil and natural gas production is either undertaken by PetroVietnam's upstream subsidiary, PetroVietnam Exploration and Production (PVEP), or through PetroVietnam's joint venture with other companies.
- International Oil Companies (IOCs) such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Zarubezhneft have formed partnerships with PetroVietnam. IOCs must receive approval from the Oil and Gas Department of the Prime Minister and must negotiate upstream licenses with PVEP.
- Vietnam currently holds 24.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proved natural gas reserves, up from 6.8 Tcf in 2011, according to OGJ. Increased foreign investment since 2007 has led to greater exploration, significantly increasing Vietnam's proved natural gas reserves.
- Vietnam produced 346 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of marketed natural gas in 2013, all of which was domestically consumed, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014. The country is currently self-sufficient in natural gas, but PetroVietnam predicts a growing supply gap characterized by demand surpassing supply, particularly in southern Vietnam. Vietnam's 2011 Gas Master Plan includes initiatives to promote natural gas in the primary energy mix, gas production and consumption targets, and detailed infrastructure plans for gas gathering systems, pipelines, and gas processing facilities.
- The Vietnamese government has considered importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the southern part of the country to meet growing natural gas demand and fill the supply gap. PetroVietnam (PV) Gas, a subsidiary of PetroVietnam, signed a memorandum of understanding and a front-end engineering and development (FEED) contract with the Tokyo Gas Company to develop the Thi Vai LNG terminal in the Vung Tau province. The terminal is expected to be operational in 2017. PV Gas also signed a gas sales and purchase agreement with Gazprom of Russia on March 6, 2014. Under the agreement, PV Gas will receive 48 Bcf/y via the Thi Vai LNG terminal. A second terminal, Son My LNG, is also planned for operations starting in 2018, although construction has yet to begin.
- Vietnam produced about 46,403 thousand short tons of coal in 2012, more than half of which (26,819 thousand short tons) was domestically consumed. Vietnam exports a large portion of its coal and also imports a small amount. However, PetroVietnam is seeking to purchase 11 million short tons of coal per year starting in 2017 to supply the domestic power industry, according to a PetroVietnam Power and Coal Import and Supply Company official quoted by Reuters. The coal imports would supply three power plants: two plants built in the southern Mekong Delta and the third built in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh.
- In 2013, the Vietnamese government increased the coal export tax to 13% from 10% to reduce exports and satisfy growing energy demand with domestic production, particularly in the power sector.
- Electricity Vietnam (EVN) dominates the power sector. Hydropower, natural gas, and coal are the primary fuels used for generation. Vietnam anticipates power demand to more than triple to 330 billion kilowatthours (KWh) between 2011 and 2020.
- With electricity consumption nearly matching generation in recent years and insufficient investment in new power plants, the electricity grid is under constant strain by the growing economy.
Analysis Last Updated: November 2014
Overview data for Vietnam+ EXPAND ALL
-- = Not applicable; NA = Not available; E = Estimate value
Sources: EIA. For more detailed data, see International Energy Statistics.
Data last updated: May 30, 2013
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