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US-Vietnam JV plans to invest up to US$6b in LNG power project

[HANOI] Chan May LNG, a US-Vietnamese joint venture, plans to invest up to US$6 billion in a power project in Vietnam as it seeks to cash in on the South-east Asian country's rising demand for electricity, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday.

Vietnam faces the risk of severe power shortages from 2021 as demand outpaces construction of new plants.

The project in Thua Thien Hue province will include a four-gigawatt (GW) power plant, an LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminal and storage facilities, John Rockhold told Reuters on the sidelines of the Vietnam Energy Summit.

Construction of the power plant is scheduled to begin next year, so that the first phase of 2.4 GW will be operational from 2024 and the entire plant from 2027, Mr Rockhold said.

"We have big support from the US government for the project, as they have LNG to sell," he said. "We have a number of US LNG suppliers and we are doing the shopping right now."

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When fully operational, the project will import around US$1.2 billion worth of US LNG a year, he said, adding it would help narrow the trade deficit the US has incurred with Vietnam.

Vietnam has been seeking to import more US goods, such as coal and LNG, to narrow the trade gap after President Donald Trump threatened tariffs on its products amid the Chinese-US trade war.

Chan May LNG, which is 60 per cent owned by US investors and 40 per cent by Vietnamese investors, said a number of institutions had shown interest in financing the projects, including US Exim Bank, the US International Development Finance and the International Finance.

Mr Rockhold said the plant will use turbines from General Electric.

"The project is now on the table of the Prime Minister (of Vietnam) and we hope to receive an investment licence this fall," he said.


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