|Bạch Hổ Oilfield was discovered in 1975 in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The National Assembly (NA) passed the amended Petroleum Law on Monday to grant the Government additional powers to better manage and utilise Việt Nam's petroleum resources.
The amended law stressed the importance of more efficient management and greater contribution of petroleum resources to the nation's socio-economic development, especially as many of the Southeast Asian country's oil and gas reserves are approaching the end of their lifespans.
According to industry experts, the added clauses have been widely expected to boost oil and gas extraction activities in Việt Nam, which seemed to stall in recent years.
The NA Standing Committee asked the Government to collect feedback and opinion from NA deputies and ordered the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Science and Technology and PetroVietnam, the country's largest oil and gas group, to work out a mechanism to oversee oil and gas extraction activities, as well as the associated costs.
For the first time, the amended law's highlights included the private sector in activities to explore, survey and exploit Việt Nam's oil and gas reserves as part of an effort to attract additional investment in the industry.
However, all parties, State-owned entities included, must ensure the nation's rights to sovereignty and economic and security interests are protected while upholding Vietnamese laws and following international treaties signed by Việt Nam, according to Head of the NA's Economic Committee Vũ Hồng Thanh.
Regarding petroleum contracts, a hotly debated topic among NA deputies, Thanh said the focus was on how to streamline and reform current administrative procedures. In addition, the Government was tasked with coming up with a mechanism of profit-sharing and measures to ensure both the State and private sector partners fulfil their responsibilities, including force majeure clauses and events involving national security issues.
Under the amended law, the Government must first decide to change designated land use, including national forests, protective forests, nature preservation parks (50-hectare or larger), and rice fields (500-hectare or larger) to gain approval from the NA. — VNS