Southeast Asia Coal Demand Growing Rapidly (SNL Energy)
Vietnam could start importing coal by 2015, energy executive says
Vietnam could begin importing coal in 2015, two years earlier than expected, as the country’s electricity demand rises, according to Vietnam Energy Association Chairman Tran Viet Ngai as cited in an Aug. 14 report by The Wall Street Journal.
“Domestic coal production is slowing down, while several new coal-fired power plants will become operational over the next years,” Ngai told the Journal. “It’s not easy for Vietnam to increase its coal output now, given that production cost is higher while there hasn’t been sufficient investment in the coal mining sector,” Ngai said, adding that “importing is inevitable.”
Ngai said that Vietnam has placed orders to purchase coal from Indonesia, Australia, India and China, and he considered the first two sources as the most promising, according to the report.
Vietnam is a net coal exporter but has been trimming its exports to meet growing domestic power demand. Coal exports were down around 16% in 2013, as the government imposed an increased tax on shipments of the fuel.
According to Ngai’s projections, yearly coal imports could hit 40 million tonnes by 2020 and 100 million tonnes by 2030. The country could increase coal consumption to 67 million tonnes per year by 2020, up from 12 million in 2012, under the government’s long-term plans.
On Aug. 12, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai told the country’s Ministry of Industry and Trade to consider an earlier start date and larger volumes for Vietnam’s coal imports, according to a statement obtained by the Journal.
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