Time to amend oil law: experts

Update: October, 30/2018 - 09:00
A PVN worker operates an oil storage system. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI The Law on Petroleum needs to be amended to promote the development of the oil and gas industry in line with the recently approved marine economic development strategy for 2030 with a vision to 2045, experts have said.

Former Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly’s Economic Committee Nguyễn Văn Phúc said at a conference on Sunday that the oil and gas industry played a key role in energy security, macro-economic balance, national defence and foreign affairs.

He stressed that the industry was an important part of Việt Nam’s marine economic development strategy.

However, the legal framework for the oil and gas industry proved outdated and was no longer appropriate to promote the industry’s development, Phúc said.

Despite being amended in 2000 and 2008, the Law on Petroleum only regulates upstream operation (exploration and production) and does not mention midstream (transportation, storage and wholesale marketing) or downstream operation (refining and distribution).  

“Due to the inadequate legal framework, it is difficult to attract investment in the oil and gas value chain,” Phúc said.

Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management Trần Kim Chung stressed that the oil and gas industry was one of the key industries in Việt Nam’s marine economic development strategy.

The strategy could be implemented if there was an appropriate legal framework and a special financial mechanism to promote the development of key industries, including oil and gas, Chung said.

Chung said besides amendments to the Law on Petroleum, it was necessary to develop a financial mechanism for the oil and gas industry for the medium- and long-term future.

Chung said the Government should establish a fund to cope with the problem of tumbling oil prices.

Nghiêm Vũ Khải, Deputy Chairman of the Việt Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations, said the industry contributed significantly to the State budget but only received modest State investments.

“The Government should provide investments to help the industry implement the marine economic development strategy,” Khải said, adding that it was necessary to set up a fund to promote the development of petroleum technology.

Phạm Xuân Cảnh from the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) said policies to attract both foreign and domestic investment needed to be introduced, especially policies to create financial mechanisms for exploration.

Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly Economic Committee Nguyễn Đức Kiên said the rapid socio-economic development demanded a new perspective in managing the oil and gas industry and applying science and technology.

Kiên said that the Law on Petroleum could be amended in the 2019-20 period. — VNS