ExxonMobile natural gas find increased Vietnam’s proved reserves by 30%; to support major energy FDI in Central Vietnam

ExxonMobile 2“It is one of the biggest gas discoveries in Vietnam,” said Do Van Hau, CEO of PetroVietnam, who estimated the reserve at between 6 trillion and 8 trillion cubic feet. Vietnam’s proved natural gas reserves at the end of 2012 were 21.8 trillion cubic feet, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

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Another mega-resort in Vietnam: Firm Plans $2.5 Billion Development in Phu Yen

vung_ro_bay_the_marinaRose Rock Group, a Rockefeller family-backed alternative investment management firm, will help develop a $2.5 billion residential and hotel project on the south-central coast of Vietnam

The Vung Ro Bay development covering 200,000 square meters (2.15 million square feet) will be developed with Vung Ro Petroleum Co., a Tuy Hoa, Phu Yen province-based oil company, according to a joint e-mailed statement today. The project will include 350 marina berths, hotels with more than 760 rooms, 4,300 residential apartments, 100 townhouses and retail shops, according to the statement. Read more

Vietnam’s Macroeconomic Stability Continues to Improve, Critical Risks Remain – World Bank: Taking Stock Dec 2013

World Bank logoNew WB Report says reenergizing medium-term growth will require renewed attention to a number of structural reforms, with focus on state owned banks and enterprises.

Taking Stock, a bi-annual assessment of Vietnam’s economy, identifies several critical risks to macro-economic stability, including: (i) low foreign exchange reserves; (ii) fragile private sector demand, (iii) possibility of departure from fiscal and monetary discipline; (iv) slow progress on structural reforms; and (v) loss of confidence in a fragile banking sector. Read more

127 SOEs incur $61.32 billion debts

Vinalines 68-yr old floating doc, Go Dau port, Dong Nai - photo credit: Tuoi TreTotal debts as of the end of 2012 of the 127 state groups and corporations topped VND1,300 trillion, or US$61.32 billion, a government report shows. The government admitted that the business effectiveness of these businesses do not live up to their operating scale and assets. Read more

VILAF Expands in Merger with LDV Lawyers in Vietnam

VILAF Vietnam International Law FirmHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam – VILAF has expanded its partnership and strengthened its energy practice in a merger with LDV Lawyers, a leading energy law firm in Vietnam. The two firms believe the merger creates the largest energy team in the country and shall benefit their current and future energy clients.

Luu Hoang Ha, Managing Partner of LDV, becomes a Partner at VILAF based in Ho Chi Minh City.  Mr. Ha, a recognised leading energy lawyer in Vietnam, will add to VILAF’s team of seven Partners working on projects, power, oil & gas, water, infrastructure, or mining. Mr Ha is Vice Chairman of AmCham Vietnam’s Energy Committee, Vietnam Director of Association of International Petroleum Negotiators and a frequent speaker on Vietnam’s energy laws and practice.

Following recent departure of finance and corporate Partner Tran Anh Duc, the firm’s finance and capital market team of 14 lawyers is led by Managing Partner Vo Ha Duyen in Ho Chi Minh City and Managing Partner Tran Tuan Phong in Ha Noi. Additionally, the firm last month promoted Counsel Nguyen Quang Vu, an outstanding corporate and finance lawyer, to its partnership.


VILAF, one of the largest full-service business law firms in Vietnam, has 11 Partners and 40 associate lawyers. The firm has been consistently ranked by independent legal publications as a first tier firm in Vietnam for corporate/M&A, energy & project, banking & finance, dispute resolution, capital market, and real property practices.

VILAF recently advised Vincom in its US$300 million Singapore bond listing transaction, Standard Chartered Bank, Mizuho, Citibank, SMBC, and PNB Paribas in different syndicated loans to Vietnam, KKR in its acquisition of shares in Masan Consumer in a complex chain of transactions totaling US$350 million, China Southern Power Grid in Vinh Tan 1 BOT Power Project, Unicharm in its acquisition of 95% of the shares in Diana, and SCG Thailand its acquisition of 85% of the shares in Prime Group.

About LDV Lawyers

LDV is a boutique energy firm having advised and represented Fortune 500 clients and Vietnamese government agencies in many of the most complex transactions in Vietnam’s energy and natural resources sector.  Some of LDV clients include BHBP Petroleum, GE Oil and Gas, KrisEnergy, Mubadala Petroleum, Petronas, and Phu My 3 BOT Power Plant.

Stirring up the South China Sea (II): Regional Responses

July 24, 2012. The long-simmering dispute is doomed to escalate if the countries contesting its waters fail to take steps to reduce tensions. ASEAN has proven ineffective in reducing tensions, since divisions between member states have prevented ASEAN from reaching a consensus. China has worked actively to exploit these divisions. As a result, no code of conduct on the management of disputes has been agreed. In the absence of regional agreement on policy options or an effective mechanism to mitigate and de-escalate incidents, this strategically important maritime domain will remain unstable.  Read more

Stirring up the South China Sea (I): China

Apr 23, 2012 China is one of its own worst enemies in the South China Sea, as its local governments and agencies struggle for power and money, inflaming tensions with its neighbours. Ultimately, the ability to manage relations in the South China Sea and resolve disputes will present a major test of China’s peaceful rise.

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Japan, Kuwait, Vietnam in $9 billion Nghi Son Refinery Project

Idemitsu Refineries and Plants in JapanIdemitsu Kosan Co., a Japanese refiner, and its partners approved a $9 billion oil refinery project in Vietnam to meet rising demand.

The companies expect to start construction in the second quarter of 2013 and commercial production in 2017, Tokyo- based Idemitsu said in a statement. They’ve awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to a consortium formed by Chiyoda Corp., JGC Corp., Technip SA, GS Engineering & Construction Corp. and SK Engineering & Construction Co., according to the statement.

Idemitsu and its partners delayed deciding whether to build the Nghi Son plant, south of Hanoi, at least three times as they resolved issues including how to finance the project. The Nghi Son plant with capacity of 200,000 barrels a day will be Vietnam’s second after the Dung Quat refinery started commercial operations in 2009.

Idemitsu and Kuwait Petroleum International Ltd. each have a 35.1 percent stake in the Nghi Son project, while Vietnam Oil & Gas Group holds 25.1 percent. Mitsui Chemicals Inc. (4183) has a 4.7 percent interest.

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Idemitsu Refineries and Plants in Japan

Letter of Award Issued for Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical Complex, Jan 15, 2013

Overview and Outline of Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical Complex

Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical Complex



ASEAN Secretary General: South China Sea risks becoming “Asia’s Palestine”


Southeast Asia’s top diplomat has warned that the South China Sea disputes risk becoming “Asia’s Palestine”, deteriorating into a violent conflict that draws sharp dividing lines between nations and destabilises the whole region.

Read more from …    CNN     Financial Times     The Economist


U.S. Energy Information Agency   The South China Sea encompasses a portion of the Pacific Ocean stretching roughly from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca in the southwest, to the Strait of Taiwan (between Taiwan and China) in the northeast. The area includes more than 200 small islands, rocks, and reefs, with the majority located in the Paracel and Spratly Island chains. Many of these islands are partially submerged islets, rocks, and reefs unsuitable for habitation and are little more than shipping hazards, with the total land area of the Spratly Islands encompassing less than 3 square miles. The islands are important for strategic and political reasons, however, as claims of ownership are used to bolster claims to the surrounding sea and its resources. The Gulf of Thailand borders the South China Sea, and though technically not part of it, disputes surround ownership of the Gulf and its resources as well.

CIA_Map_ SCS_for_publication

Source: CIA Maps and Publications for the Public (from above U.S. EIA Link)



China warns India on South China Sea exploration projects

Sep 15, 2011. China indicated it was opposed to India engaging in oil and gas exploration projects in the disputed South China Sea, and warned Indian companies against entering into any agreements with Vietnam ahead of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s visit to Hanoi this week.

“Our consistent position is that we are opposed to any country engaging in oil and gas exploration and development activities in waters under China’s jurisdiction,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said, in reply to a question on reports that the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh Limited was considering exploration projects in two blocks that Vietnam claims.

While Ms. Jiang said she was not aware of reports of Indian involvement in any projects, she stressed China enjoyed “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea and its islands.

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