Vietnam’s economy is booming, stretching its ability to satisfy its mounting energy needs. For a long time, the southeast Asian country was self-sufficient in meeting its demand for coal – its top fuel for power generation – as well as natural gas. Having started coal imports over a decade ago to address a widening gap in supply and demand, it is now also planning to start importing LNG, partly to deal with an anticipated gas shortfall.
With plenty of new power capacity needed in the next decade to avoid electricity shortages, especially in its economic heartland centred around Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta region in the south, and growing public concerns over the environment, will Vietnam continue to favour coal over gas in power generation? And with substantial gas resources of its own, why does Vietnam need to import LNG?