HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM — Vietnam needs to invest an estimated $5.8 billion to develop domestic resin capacity for its booming plastics industry, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Industry.
The investment would reduce Vietnam's dependence on imported feedstocks and resins.
``The setting up of integrated petrochemical complexes that include upstream and downstream projects is very important,'' Le Van Dinh, deputy director of the ministry's international cooperation department, said during a recent industry seminar in Ho Chi Minh City.
``For the time being, Vietnam imports nearly a hundred percent of petrochemicals,'' he said.
The proposed petrochemical complex includes an aromatics plant, two polyethylene and three polypropylene plants and a naphtha cracker.
The government's Petrochemical Industry Masterplan forecasts Vietnam's ethylene and propylene demand in 2005 to rise to 672 million pounds and 449 million pounds, respectively, from virtually no demand before the turn of the century.
It predicts high density PE demand in 2000 to be 255 million pounds, vs. 127 million pounds in 1995. During the same period, PP demand is expected to rise from 154 million pounds to 308 million pounds, while linear low and low density PE demand is set to grow from 74.9 million pounds to 154 million pounds.
Malaysia's state-owned oil and gas company, Petroliam Nasional, Japanese trading firm Marubeni Corp. and two Vietnamese groups are building a $109 million PVC plant with an annual capacity of 220 million pounds. The plant is scheduled to come on stream in 1999.
Another 176 million-pound-per-year PVC plant is scheduled to come on stream at the end of the year. It is owned by Japan's Mitsui Petrochemical Corp. and local firm VinaChem. More than half of the output will be used in Vietnam, with the rest to be exported to China and India, PetroVietnam Gas Co. said.
Vietnam has announced a 66 million-pound-per-year polystyrene plant, a joint venture between PetroVietnam and Japanese firms, to start up at the end of 1998. A 220 million-pound-per-year PP plant is due in 2000, according to industry sources.
Since the discovery of huge natural-gas deposits in Vietnam's southeastern Nam Con Basin a few years ago, state planners have been toying with the idea of using some of the gas as petrochemical feedstock.
The recently completed Petrochemical Industry Masterplan and the Gas Industry Masterplan through 2010 have provided a policy backbone to that dream. Foreign firms such as Malaysia's Petronas and British Petroleum Ltd. of London have contributed to the studies.
The country's state-owned energy firm PetroVietnam plans to build an oil refinery in the impoverished central region of Dung Quat, plus a gas pipeline from offshore gas fields in the Nam Con Son Basin to the industrial cities of Baria and Vung Tau in the south.
The gas-based petrochemical projects are expected to be located near Baria-Vung Tau, while the oil-based petrochemical projects will probably be situated in Dung Quat, the senior official said.