United States Enhances Cooperation with Vietnam in Natural Gas

Diep Nguyen

Last year, the United States became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since 1957 and will become one of the top global LNG exporters in the coming years.

United States Enhances Cooperation with Vietnam in Natural Gas
On December 6, the United States hosted a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City focused on U.S.-Vietnam cooperation in Vietnam’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) power and infrastructure industry.  The workshop brought together more than 140 public and private sector representatives from both countries to discuss project opportunities and areas for collaboration.  
During the program, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announced its intention to support Electricity Vietnam’s (EVN) development of a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal in the southern part of the country.  The USTDA will fund a feasibility study that will aid EVN in its assessment of site selection opportunities and other important core elements of the development of the LNG terminal – including marine port, LNG storage, regasification, and related infrastructure – which will allow EVN to plan its use of LNG as a fuel source for power generation and plan the necessary terminal and vessel services and facilities.
Last year, the United States became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since 1957 and will become one of the top global LNG exporters in the coming years, and U.S. energy firms are working with local partners to develop the Vietnam’s LNG import and gas-fired power generation capacity.
Leaders from AES, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, Cheniere, Energy Capital Vietnam, Excelerate Energy, ExxonMobil and Marsh, amongst others, were on hand to share best practices and strengthen the ties between the United States and Vietnam. The workshop also featured presentations from Vietnam’s project owners, developers, and stakeholders, including PetroVietnam Gas Corporation, PetroVietnam Power, Electricity Vietnam, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT). 
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing Ian Steff moderated a panel on lifecycle costing and the U.S. value proposition in LNG infrastructure development that included speakers from Exxon, GE Power, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and USTDA.  Deputy Assistant Secretary Steff encouraged project owners to plan and develop Vietnam’s energy infrastructure utilizing life cycle costing methods that emphasize total cost of owning, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure over its life, including both tangible inputs, such as feed stock, and intangible outcomes such as impacts to the environment.  Other panel presentations by U.S. firms provided Vietnam energy stakeholders with case studies and examples for effectively developing LNG infrastructure, downstream LNG development, and structuring and financing via the use of public-private partnerships.
During his keynote remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J Kritenbrink noted, “Energy policy and associated decisions are not always easy.  Like my country and many others, Vietnam has important – and difficult – decisions to make about its energy sector in the near future.  The investment choices Vietnam makes will impact its energy security, its environmental quality, and its ability to sustain its incredible economic growth for generations to come.”  The Ambassador continued, “please know that the United States, our firms and our government, stand ready to help Vietnam achieve its goals.”
The Energy Industry Workshop is an element of the U.S. government’s Asia “Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy” or Asia “EDGE” initiative.  Asia EDGE brings together government and private sector resources to help grow sustainable and secure energy markets across the Indo-Pacific region.  In Vietnam, the U.S. Government will advance bilateral cooperation under the banner of EDGE Vietnam, capitalizing on the tremendous opportunity to strengthen energy security with modern technologies that are clean, smart, and state-of-the-art.