March 12, 2008
The answer is rather positive if you ask Phung Dinh Thuc, vice president of Petroviet-nam, who yesterday attended Gastech 2008, the global natural-gas exhibition and conference in Bangkok.
Thuc, whose country will host the next major regional natural-gas event in Hanoi in November, said while Vietnam was not on the scale of China, it certainly was a significant economy in Asia.
“Through the end of last year, Vietnam’s growth rate exceeded that of Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and even India, its closest rival.”
Thuc believes Vietnam can be the new Asian economic tiger, as evidenced by some key economic, financial and industrial indicators.
For instance, the country now produces and uses more cement than does France, its former colonial ruler, and the main index for Ho Chi Minh City’s stock market and smaller exchanges in Hanoi have nearly doubled this year.
Vietnam has also become the talk of investment bankers and international investors.
Thuc indicated there was also a large boom in the industrial sector, with many factories opening in Vietnam as a result of increased foreign direct investment.
These investments, which provide jobs, training and livelihoods for Vietnamese, have led to an increased demand for oil and gas to support the growth of new industries and improve local living conditions.
Thuc said the Asia-Pacific used more than 25 million barrels of oil and 400 billion cubic metres of natural gas per day last year, with demand in 2011 projected at 29 million barrels and 620 billion cubic metres, respectively.
Vietnam’s gross domestic product is projected to grow 8.2 per cent this year, unchanged from last year. For next year, 2010 and 2011, growth projections are 8.5-8.7 per cent per annum.
As a result, the country’s oil and liquid-gas output is projected to rise to 360,000-390,000 barrels per day by 2011, with consumption forecast to grow 4-6 per cent per annum.
As for natural gas, demand is forecast to rise from last year’s 7 billion cubic metres to 20 billion in 2011.
Thuc also said the Vietnamese government had committed itself to modernising the economy by launching several large infrastructure projects and converting state-owned enterprises into shareholder-owned companies.
In addition, it has improved stock-market regulations and reduced corruption.