Aussie gas exporter eyes Vietnamese market

Woodside Petroleum CEO Peter Coleman is eying the opportunities for the energy company in Vietnam.
Woodside Petroleum CEO Peter Coleman is eying the opportunities for the energy company in Vietnam.

Australian energy giant Woodside could be exporting liquefied natural gas to Vietnam as early as 2021.

Vietnam is Australia's second-fastest-growing trade partner behind India, with trade between the pair hitting a record $14.5 billion in 2018.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday night addressed a meeting of business leaders in Hanoi, talking up the opportunities to grow Australian investment in Vietnam.

"One area of big opportunity is energy," he said.

"When Vietnam starts importing LNG in 2020, Australian gas producers like Woodside ... have aspirations to be part of that and are working towards making that happen."

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said he expected the tender process to get underway later this year or early next year.

He's hoping Australia's biggest gas and oil company can capitalise on the forecast for power consumption to grow in Vietnam at 10 to 12 per cent a year.

"They've really upped their renewables, they're up at about around 20 per cent, and they were basically zero a few years ago," he told reporters in Hanoi.

"Now they're saying 'well we need to get some stability back in the system' and of course LNG can fill that space."

Mr Coleman expects the tender evaluation process to take six months, meaning the company could start supplying gas in 2021/22.

"Woodside's got a place here because they want to move to LNG, they want to have gas-fire power stations for baseload," he said.

RMIT University, which has campuses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and logistics giant Linfox were also represented at the business event.

Linfox has been in Vietnam since 2006.

The company recently bought 100,000 square metres of land about 40 minutes from Hanoi and in May started operations in a 60,000-square metre warehouse, which is expected to be full next month.

Linfox International chief executive Greg Thomas said strong economic indicators and demographic statistics made it an attractive place for Australian companies to invest.

"All that's pointing to local demand for consumer products and that's why our core capability is in transport and warehousing of those products," he said.

Australian Associated Press