Vietnam increasingly reliant on imported energy

Due to limited domestic supply, Vietnam has become increasingly dependent on energy imports, putting national energy security at risk, Nguyen Van Thanh, deputy head of the Electricity and Renewable Energy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, told the Vietnam Technology and Energy Forum 2018 on July 31.

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An active hydropower dam 

According to a report by the Electricity and Renewable Energy Department, after executing the national energy development strategy by 2020 with a vision to 2050 for 10 years, the local energy sector has achieved positive results. However, some targets have yet to be fulfilled.

Dung Quat and Nghi Son oil refineries are likely to reach a combined processing capacity of 16.5 million tons of crude oil by 2020, well below the estimate of 25-30 million tons.

In addition, the national petrol and oil reserves were targeted to be equivalent to 45 days of average consumption by 2010 and 60 days by 2020. However, as of 2015, the fuel reserves for production and trade were equivalent to 21.2 and 32 days, respectively.

The connection to the regional grid and natural gas system has yet to be built. Electricity has been traded with China, Laos and Cambodia through 220kV lines, while the country was expected to link the 500kV grid to these neighboring countries in 2010-2015.

Delegates participating in the forum attributed the poor performance of the energy sector to the global recession in 2008-2009 and to the fluctuations in global fuel prices, which affected the accuracy of forecasts and decisions to invest in power infrastructure development projects, Thanh noted.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam is expected to supply adequate energy for local consumption to fuel the country’s socioeconomic development.

At the forum, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung stressed that the energy sector needs to fulfill international commitments toward sustainable development amid the exhaustion of traditional energy reserves.

Ta Cao Minh, vice chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Automation Association, told the forum that Vietnam’s energy demand grows annually by 20%, given gross domestic product growth of 6-7%.

At present, coal-fired thermal and hydropower projects are operating at full capacity in the country. Therefore, the sector should develop renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass power, and step up the application of technology to increase energy efficiency.


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