Central province seeks to compensate nuclear loss with more LNG power

Ninh Thuan has proposed that it develops another 4,600 MW plant using liquefied natural gas (LNG), making up for shelved nuclear energy plans.

Vietnam, LNG, Ninh Thuan, nuclear power, Ca Na Port, liquefied natural gas

The original plan to have 4,600 MW of nuclear power developed in the province was abandoned by the National Assembly in November 2016, and the province needs to produce that energy with alternative fuel sources, Ninh Thuan Deputy Chairman Pham Van Hau said at a forum Wednesday.

Ca Na Port in the province is a deep water port that can receive ships of up to 250,000 DWT and suitable for liquefied natural gas (LNG) power development, he said, adding that the proposal was in line with the government’s plan to make Ninh Thuan a renewable and LNG energy hotspot in the country.

The proposal, if approved, will add to an earlier approval for Ninh Thuan to build a 6,000 MW LNG-fired power plant at Ca Na, with the first phase of 1,500 MW to be constructed 2021-2025. Municipal authorities are in the process of choosing contractors for the project.

In March this year, Thailand’s Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited (Gulf) had expressed interest in building a $7.8 billion LNG-fired power complex in Ca Na. The complex would have four LNG-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 6,000 MW to be built with build-operate-transfer (BOT) or other investment forms.

The development of LNG, including building infrastructure for gas imports, is a major part of the government’s energy development plan as hydropower capacity reduces and construction of coal-fired power projects suffers delays.

However, industry insiders say that the complex infrastructure required to develop LNG power in Vietnam is slowing its progress, especially compared to wind and solar power.

Bui Thi Hong Van, managing director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Angelin Energy, said that the biggest challenge in developing LNG projects was not price, but developing infrastructure which includes storage facilities and terminals that could cost billions of dollars.

Policy restrictions are another challenge, Van said. While factories and industrial zones have high demand for this type of energy, they are hindered by the difficulties in obtaining import permits, she said. She proposed that the government relaxes its LNG import policies.

As per the national gas industry development plan by 2025, with vision extended to 2035, Vietnam will have six LNG terminals.

State-owned oil and gas group Petrovietnam began construction last October of the Thi Vai LNG Terminal in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, the first of its kind in the country, which is expected to begin operations in 2022.

A recent Reuters report said that Chan May LNG, a U.S.-Vietnamese joint venture, plans to invest up to $6 billion in an LNG power project in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

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