Vietnam is likely to turn net LPG exporter from 2015 as the country’s domestic production looks to outstrip demand, a top official from the Vietnam Petroleum Institute said Friday.
“Plans are to have two new refineries and one gas separation plant up and running [by 2015], and assuming a base case scenario [of a GDP growth rate of 6.5 percent through to 2015] we are looking at an oversupplied market due to added production from these new capacities,” said Nguyen Thanh Luan, leader of energy [LPG, power and coal] market forecast team from the market analysis and forecast department of VPI.
The 200,000 b/d Long Son refinery located in Vung Tau province is expected to start operations in early 2014, while the 200,000 b/d Nghi Son refinery located in Thanh Hoa province would start commercial production by late 2014; and the Ca Mau gas processing project is scheduled to start operations by early 2015, said Nguyen.
“Total LPG production from these three projects in their first full year of operations is estimated at around 1.2 million mt,” said the VPI official without giving a breakup of output from the three projects.
With the potential addition of product from the planned projects, Vietnam’s total domestic production is estimated to surge 193 percent to 1.74 million mt in 2015, up from 593,000 mt in 2011, said Nguyen adding that – assuming a base case scenario of a GDP growth rate of 6.5 percent through to 2015 – demand is expected to rise to 1.67 million mt, or a 34.79 percent increase from the previous year’s 1.24 million mt.
Based on the same base case GDP growth rate, the country’s LPG demand is estimated to rise 8.17 percent to 1.34 million mt in the current year, while domestic production would remain unchanged up to 2014, he said.
Meanwhile, depending on how soon the planned expansion projects and other new greenfield projects start up and can be ramped up, the country’s LPG demand-supply balance could switch from being oversupplied to short between 2016 and 2019, as the market is expected to continue to grow fueled by demand from the household sector, said Nguyen.
The VPI official estimates Vietnam’s LPG demand to rise to 2.3 million mt by 2020, while domestic production is expected to be around 1.86 million mt.
Currently, around 48 percent of the country’s LPG demand – almost 60 percent from the household sector – is met by domestic supplies from Binh Son, a wholly owned subsidiary of state-owned oil and gas group PetroVietnam, and the operator of the country’s sole 130,000 b/d refinery at Dung Quat in Quang Ngai province; and by Dinh Co Gas Processing Plant, which is operated by PV Gas South. The rest of the demand is met by imports, almost 95 percent of it from China.
Vietnam plans to build six or seven refining and petrochemical complexes to bring the country’s total oil processing capacity to as much as 60 million mt/year (1.2 million b/d) by 2025, the Ministry of Industry and Trade indicated in a national five-year plan released mid-2011.