|A view of the Bach Ho Oilfield off the coast of Việt Nam. Photo Vietnam Oil and Gas Group|
HÀ NỘI — The National Assembly (NA) yesterday debated a number of proposed changes to the country's Petroleum Law, which was slated for a vote by deputies on November 14.
Introduced for the first time 30 years ago, Việt Nam Petroleum Law was now in need of revision to better align with international standards and practices, national development strategy and objectives, as well as to create momentum for the oil and gas industry.
The revision took into consideration the falling output of current oil fields and difficulties in the exploration and extraction of new oil sources, as well as a lack of incentives to boost investment in the industry.
The debate highlighted the importance of product-sharing agreements as a means to encourage domestic and foreign investors to conduct studies and surveys and form partnerships with the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, a wholly State-owned enterprise that oversees oil and gas activities in the country.
NA deputies stressed the importance of the industry in ensuring the country's energy security, improved legal framework and State management of resources.
Hoàng Ngọc Trung, deputy director-general of the PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP), said the existing Petroleum Law was no longer able to meet the country's demand as Việt Nam's petroleum reserves were in decline.
Trung said the introduction of new types of agreements may help with the exploration and boost investment for low-producing oil fields, which were considered less attractive by potential investors. This has been a popular approach implemented by numerous countries in Latin America and Europe.
Deputy dean of the Vietnam Petroleum Institute Phan Minh Quốc Bình said it's high time Việt Nam looked for working models to minimise investors' risk to boost investment for off-shore and low-producing oil fields in accordance with international practices.
Lê Đắc Hoá, a director from PVEP, said without a proper legal framework, operations for mentioned-above oil fields will be spotty at best, equipment will likely remain neglected and there can't be significant investments made.
Industry experts have long called for the implementation of a fairer approach that ensures legitimate rights and interests of investors and the State are upheld. They also urged the industry to pick up the pace of localisation by employing additional Vietnamese workers and companies in oil and gas extraction activities.
During the session, NA deputies demanded the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, both tasked with overseeing Việt Nam's domestic petrol market, take all measures to ensure a stable supply of petrol products for consumers and industries.
A number of petrol stations have been closed down in recent weeks with retailers complaining over shrinking profit margins and rising costs as the two ministries trade blame for disrupted supply and long queues at the pumps. VNS