HA NOI — The supply of gas is sufficient and gas prices will not increase, even though the Dung Quat refinery will temporarily halt operations, according to the Viet Nam Gas Association.
|Gas tanks are delivered to a store in HCM City. The supply of gas is forecast to be sufficient and gas prices will not increase. —VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
Meanwhile, gas traders said the refinery's announcement to suspend production was made so suddenly that they were unprepared.
Long An-based MT Gas Company stated that 40 per cent of its products came from the Dung Quat refinery. "A shortage is inevitable," it told the Viet Nam Economic Times.
Sai Gon Petro Co Ltd also said it had to purchase an extra 1,000 tonnes of gas to stabilise its supply. The company estimated the shortage would last until the refinery returned to operation at around 9,000 tonnes.
However, the gas association's vice president Le Thi Anh Man alleged that reserve capacity of many gas traders was insufficient.
Meanwhile, "gas supply for the market is assured," she affirmed, adding that large companies such as Petrolimex and Sai Gon Petro had adequate reserves.
"The country is going to import over 40,000 tonnes, so a lack of gas is impossible," she said.
Any increase in domestic gas prices depends on a number of factors, the most important of which is the contract price on the international market. "Therefore, a shortage for some small suppliers will not affect the domestic price," she said.
However, some retailers have still raised their prices, citing short supply. A retailer in Ha Noi's Cau Giay District lifted its selling price twice this month. The first time, the price rose by VND52,000 (US$2.4) for a 12-kg gas tank. It then increased by VND20,000 (nearly $1) a week later.
Retail gas price currently ranges between VND390,000-415,000 ($18.5-19.7) per tank.
Man said: "If management were strict enough, prices would not increase in such an unorganised way."
Because gas is an essential consumer good, there should be more efficient sanctions to regulate the disorderly retail gas market. — VNS