Viet Nam is making progress in establishing an energy market that strikes a balance between priorities for coal imports and nuclear energy development, said a government official at the opening of the first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) forum on energy in Hanoi on April 11.
“In order for the domestic energy supply to keep pace with growth rates, projected to average 8.5 percent from 2011-2020, Viet Nam will speed up elimination of subsidy and monopoly in the energy sector and allocate ODA and bilateral loan sources to rural energy projects and bio fuel projects,” Le Tuan Phong, Head of the Energy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said at the forum.
The two day forum developed out of an initiative proposed by Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung proposed at the sixth ASEM summit in Finland in 2005.
It brought together representatives from 45 ASEM member countries for a policy discussion on developing new and renewable energies, intensifying energy security and tightening the cooperation among ASEM members in energy policy planning, technology transfer and investment.
The discussions came in the gloomy context of skyrocketing world oil prices now surpassing the threshold of 109 USD a barrel and projections that world energy demand will surge 30 percent by 2030.
Viet Nam will develop their energy market by diversifying business ownership and models, said Phong. The government will speed up the restructuring of state corporations including Electricity of Viet Nam, Viet Nam Coal and Mineral Corporate and PetroVietnam into industrial, commercial and financial corporations that are strong in both domestic and international markets.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union have an 18-year history of energy cooperation. The EU has supported the foundation of the ASEAN Energy Centre (ACE) and various energy development programs of SEAN members. The European Commission has already provided some 45 million euros to support ASEAN countries’ energy policies and practices in the last 5-6 years.
According to ACE Executive Director Weerawat Chantanakome, ASEAN members have also actively increased internal energy cooperation as Southeast Asia is an energy-rich region with seven ASEAN members having proven rich energy reserves. Indonesia and Brunei now ranks in the top five world gas exporters, he added. So far, ASEAN countries have completed construction of 2,300 km of gas pipelines in the trans-ASEAN gas pipeline project, linking seven member countries.