Energy Update: March 22, 2018

ENERGY UPDATE | MARCH 22, 2018
Authors: Riley Smith and Joyce Lin 
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

March 27-29: 2018 Vietnam Business Mission

March 28: Singapore Committee Quarterly Call

April 26: US-ABC Annual Gala Dinner

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Sarawak Government to Assume Regulatory Authority Over State's Oil and Gas Industry in July 2018 
On March 6, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg announced that the Malaysian state would assume full regulatory authority over the upstream and downstream operations of the state's oil and gas industry by July of this year. The Chief Minister made the announcement at the launch of Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), Sarawak's state-owned oil and gas company. Currently, Petronas, Malaysia's national oil and gas company, maintains legal ownership and rights over all oil fields nationwide. As part of this arrangement, federal and state governments receive cash payments from Petronas for petroleum deposits that are exploited and processed within their jurisdictions. With the formation of Petros, the first state-owned oil and gas company in Malaysia, Sarawak will be able to earn its own revenues through exploration and downstream activities.

After the state government assumes regulatory authority over the oil and gas industry in Sarawak, persons and companies involved in the industry will need the necessary licenses, permits, leases, and approvals required under either the state's Oil Mining Ordinance or the Gas Distribution Ordinance. Abang Johari stated that the switch over to Sarawak state laws will not jeopardize the interests or investments of Petronas and other companies already participating in the upstream and downstream aspects of the state's oil and gas industry. However, these companies' activities in the sector must comply with state laws and regulations. The ability of Sarawak's state government to assume full regulatory authority over the state's oil and gas industry is allowed under the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution. Under the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, item 2(c) of the State List and 8(J) of the Federal List lay out what the state and federal governments can legislate with regards to mineral resources.

The Chief Minister said that the formation of Petros, founded in 2017, was part of the promise made by the federal government to return eroded rights from the Malaysia Agreement 1963, signed when Sarawak agreed to become part of Malaysia. On February 10, at the 14th convention of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the largest political party in Sarawak, Prime Minister Najib Razak had said that a high-level committee will be set up to start negotiations on the return of Sarawak's rights relating to the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Petros chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Hamid Bugo expressed confidence that Sarawak would soon be in a position to exercise sufficient control over activities in the oil and gas industry in the state, so as to support Petros in becoming a major player in the domestic oil and gas industry. He said that the company aims to be a major player in the exploitation and utilization of energy in Sarawak, and an active and fully-integrated oil and gas operator across the value chain upstream, midstream, and downstream.

On March 7, Petronas released a press statement welcoming the participation of Petros in the oil and gas sector. It stated that it would support the participation of the Sarawak state in the sector in line with the current framework of the Petroleum Development Act 1974. The act gives Petronas exclusive ownership right to the oil and gas resources in Malaysia, and makes it the main regulatory body for upstream oil and gas activities.

Thai Power Producer to Implement ASEAN Distributed Power Project with Support from ADB
On February 23, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced a $235 million loan to B.Grimm Power Public Company Limited (B.Grimm Power), one of the largest power producers in Thailand, to support the company's implementation of the ASEAN Distributed Power Project (Phase 2), which will expand renewable and distributed power generation into new markets in ASEAN. The project will involve the execution and operation of distributed and utility-scale solar, wind, biomass, waste-to-energy, gas fired power, energy storage, as well as associated infrastructure in ASEAN countries. The ADB intends for the main beneficiaries of the project to be communities, small businesses and micro enterprises, and industrial firms employing large workforces in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar, where a significant proportion of the population still lacks access to electricity. The project will also support the Thailand government's aim to increase the share of renewable energy used for power generation to 30%. Phase 1 of the ASEAN Distributed Power Project enabled the expansion of B.Grimm Power's energy business into the ASEAN region, with the aid of partial funding from the ADB. In July 2017, ADB took a $57.7 million equity stake in B.Grimm Power as part of the company's initial public offering. The equity investment in B.Grimm Power was earmarked for the company's 114 MW solar projects and 16 MW wind power projects in Thailand, as well as solar, wind, and other renewable energy projects in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

 
 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
New Asian importers shaking up world LNG market
ADB to finance Asean energy project

Brunei
China throws sinking Brunei a lifeline
$10M saved annually through energy conservation measures
Oil discovery efforts to be improved to offset production decline
Crucial for Brunei to achieve rapid economic diversification
China adds Brunei to new silk road plans

Cambodia
Cambodia on course to have all villages electrified by 2020
Cambodia grants new licence for Apsara oilfield
Investment in extractive industry worth 1.3 billion

Indonesia
Latest Developments In The Indonesian Energy And Resources Sector - ASR Obligations Further Regulated, PPA Regulation Amended And 27 Regulations Revoked
Foreign investors allowed to bid for big mining concessions
Coal domestic price policy to affect state revenue: Officials
Indonesia's Plan to Keep Power Tariffs Flat Will Cost $588m This Year
Government sets coal price for power plants
Fuel, electricity prices to remain unchanged until 2019
Government to raise energy subsidies in 2018
Energy Ministry Scraps Hundreds of Troubling Regulations to Boost Investment
Govt pushing ahead with locomotive biodiesel plans
Jokowi’s 35,000 MW program only reaches 3.8 percent progress
Coal prices projected to remain healthy in 2018

Laos
Lao gov't promotes investment in potential projects
Thailand’s Delay on Buying Lao Dam Electricity Could Trigger Rethink

Malaysia
Malaysian energy firm Petronas raises 2018 spending for upstream work
Solar energy, the way forward
Tokyo Gas wins destination flexibility from new Malaysia LNG purchase
Malaysian palm oil price gains on stronger rival oils, improved demand
How to Green Malaysian Electricity
State oil rights no cure-all for Sarawak
Sarawak gains full control over state's oil and gas sector as Malaysia election nears
Sarawak government to assume full control over O&G industry
Malaysia to press EU on planned palm oil ban in biofuels

Myanmar
Govt Greenlights Electricity Joint Ventures in Mon State, Bago Region
Myanmar considers direct imports, new infrastructure to lower domestic fuel costs
Petroleum imports surge on the back of higher demand
Myanmar, China, Bangladesh agree on electric power trading

Philippines
DOE declares Cebu oil field commercially viable
PHL energy sector takes center stage in world’s biggest industry event | BusinessMirror
Top IAEA official visits PH to discuss use of nuclear energy
Coal plants’ share in 2017 energy mix expands to over 35%
Malacañang: Two areas being considered for joint exploration with China
Philippines' $2 billion LNG project draws interest from Tokyo Gas,...

Singapore
Power retailers may default amidst heated bout in Singapore's open energy market
PCS opens naphtha import facilities on Jurong Island
Senoko Energy launches retail services for consumers ahead of market liberalisation
Microsoft is buying solar energy from Singapore rooftops
Fourth liquefied natural gas tank to be completed by H1: MTI
17 F&B businesses in Singapore commit to sourcing for sustainable palm oil

Thailand
Thais weigh merit of Mekong dam
B10 increase eyed to absorb palm oil surplus
Scant CO2 tax impact seen
Policymakers aim to adjust legal reserves
DOEB spots rising fuel consumption in 2018

Vietnam
Vietnam Proposes Higher Environmental Protection Taxes
Trade ministry begins $158m energy efficiency project
Giant solar power plant to start operation this year
Government focuses on divestment in oil and gas sector
Finance Ministry proposes environmental tax hike
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 

ASEAN

New Asian importers shaking up world LNG market Nikkei Asian Review 22nd Mar 2018
The Asian market for liquid natural gas is being transformed as Thailand, Pakistan and others join the ranks of importers and consumption grows rapidly in China and India, resulting in a fundamental shift in a market that had long been dominated by Japan and South Korea as major customers. Economic growth has been a driver in the change, as has the introduction of inexpensive floating off-loading terminals for the fuel. Asia now accounts for 70% of global demand for LNG. Southeast Asian nations had long supplied LNG to countries such as Japan and South Korea. Thailand broke with the pack in 2011, when it became the first nation in the region to start importing the fuel. Malaysia, a perennial heavyweight exporter, soon followed, as well as Brunei. The growing internal demand for gas in Asia has completely transformed the landscape. In 2006, the only LNG importers in Asia were Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India and China, according to data from British oil multinational BP. The list had grown to 10 economies as of 2016.

ADB to finance Asean energy project Khmer Times 26th Feb 2018
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan for $235 million to B.Grimm Power, one of the largest power producers in Thailand, to develop and enhance renewable energy capacity in Asean member countries. ADB’s financing will support B.Grimm Power’s implementation of the Asean Distributed Power Project, which will expand renewable and distributed power generation into new markets in Asean including Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam, according to ADB’s press release. The project will involve the execution and operation of distributed and utility-scale solar, wind, biomass, waste-to-energy, and gas-fired power, as well as energy storage.

Brunei

China throws sinking Brunei a lifeline Asia Times 18th Mar 2018
Brunei’s ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, is in a race against time as his nation’s once deep stores of oil and gas rapidly run dry. While other foreign investors up stakes, China is giving the Southeast Asian sultanate a new lease on economic life. International banks such as HSBC and Citibank have recently ceased operations in Brunei in sight of its contracting oil and gas business, driven down by years of depressed global energy prices. But one major financial institution has filled the vacuum: Bank of China (BOC). Beijing has deepened diplomatic ties with other regional governments by offering investment projects, generous aid packages and trade deals. Those moves have sometimes spurred opposition and anti-Chinese sentiment on sovereign concerns. Until now, Brunei’s oil wealth had enabled it to avoid economic dependence on China. But unless new sources are discovered, those reserves will be depleted within two decades at the current pace of extraction, according to various research projections. Though it has supported regional free trade and promoted non-energy sector investments, observers believe the small country is ill-prepared for the hurdles ahead.

$10M saved annually through energy conservation measures The Scoop 8th Mar 2018
The “minimal effort” of only switching on alternating street lights, as well as energy efficiency measures in government buildings has led to nearly $10 million in savings annually, the minister of Energy and Industry disclosed. According to YB Dato Paduka Dr Hj Mat Suny Hj Md Hussein, the government has been able to save $3.6 million a year by only switching on every other street light. Meanwhile, energy saving measures enforced in government buildings has saved an annual $6 million or 6 gigawatt hours (GWh). “It’s a minimal effort initiative which has brought on big savings while still maintaining public safety,” he said at the Legislative Council meeting this morning. He added that the other set of street lights will be used after every six months. The reduction of lighting is not implemented where public safety may be compromised such as at flyovers, roundabouts, and major junctions.

Oil discovery efforts to be improved to offset production decline Borneo Bulletin Online 8th Mar 2018
MINISTER of Energy and Industry YB Dato Paduka Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein said that the regulations and management of the country’s hydrocarbon resources will be more effective and orderly, with the Department of Energy and Industry tasked to do so. The minister said this at the 14th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday, as he discussed topics related to the Department of Energy and Industry, and the Department of Electrical Services. The minister added that reasonable measures will be identified to channel locals into management posts as there is a shortage of these workers holding those positions. He also said that in moving towards economic diversification, the Department of Energy and Industry will work together with other ministries and relevant authorities to develop sought-after sectors and fields.

Crucial for Brunei to achieve rapid economic diversification Borneo Bulletin Online 11th Mar 2018
Minister of Finance II YB Dato Seri Paduka Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah yesterday said at the 14th Legislative Council (LegCo) session that it is crucial for the nation to achieve rapid economic diversification and widen its non-oil and gas revenue to a very satisfying level to achieve a balanced fiscal. The minister said this in response to LegCo member YB Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman’s query on the possibility of having the nation achieve zero budget deficit. “To achieve a zero deficit without relying on oil and gas revenue is not a matter that can be attained in a straight forward manner,” the minister said. “The possibility to score zero budget deficits is a positive achievement dreamed by nations globally. Some nations have fiscal policy tools to assist in balancing their respective fiscals, especially for countries with no natural resources,” he said.

China adds Brunei to new silk road plans BorneoPost Online 5th Mar 2018
On a tiny island off Brunei’s northern tip on the South China Sea, thousands of Chinese workers are building a refinery and petrochemical complex, along with a bridge connecting it to the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. When completed, the first phase of the US$3.4 billion complex on Muara Besar island, run by China’s Hengyi Group, will be Brunei’s largest-ever foreign investment project, and comes at a time when the oil-dependent country needs it the most. Brunei’s oil and gas reserves are expected to run out within two decades. As production falls, oil firms won’t be investing much into existing facilities, further hampering output, oil analysts say. As a result, the country’s oil revenues, which provide virtually all of Brunei’s government spending, are in steady decline.

Cambodia

Cambodia on course to have all villages electrified by 2020 Khmer Times 9th Mar 2018
The Ministry of Mines and Energy announced that 88 percent of villages nationwide will be electrified by the end of the year, setting the government on its way to achieve its goal of connecting every village in the country to the national grid by 2020. According to Victor Jona, director-general of the electricity department, by the end of 2018, 75 percent of all households will enjoy access to power. “By December last year, 81.5 percent of all villages had access to electricity, and we are aiming for 88 percent before the year ends,” said Mr Jona. “By 2020, we will achieve our target of 100 percent.

Cambodia grants new licence for Apsara oilfield Khmer Times 8th Mar 2018
With the kingdom still waiting to produce its first drop of crude oil, a new exploration agreement in the Apsara oilfield signed yesterday could open the way for another milestone deal in Cambodia’s extractive industry. Speaking during the final day of a convention of the Ministry of Mines and Energy yesterday, Minister Suy Sem revealed that it has given a green light to a Chinese Canadian venture to conduct feasibility studies on Apsara offshore oilfield’s Block D. The move is only the first step to a possible extraction agreement in the future, said Cheap Sour, director-general of the petroleum department, who added that negotiations between the parties are ongoing.

Investment in extractive industry worth 1.3 billion Khmer Times 7th Mar 2018
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the extractive industry, including some projects expected to be approved before the end of the year, now equals $1.3 billion, making it one of the most valuable economic sectors in the kingdom, according to data from the Ministry of Mines and Energy. “Investment projects that have been approved already or will be approved this year for mining and oil extraction amount to $1.3 billion,” said Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem speaking during a ministry meeting yesterday. “This investment will boost the sector, making it one of the biggest in the kingdom for 2018-2019.” Yos Monirath, ministry spokesman, said most investment is going towards oil extraction, with only two big projects in mining, representing a comparably small investment.

Indonesia

Latest Developments In The Indonesian Energy And Resources Sector - ASR Obligations Further Regulated, PPA Regulation Amended And 27 Regulations Revoked Lexology 8th Mar 2018
In late February 2018, the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) issued an important new regulation regarding abandonment and site-restoration (ASR) obligations for oil and gas operations in Indonesia. Regulation No. 15 of 2018 regarding Post-Operation Activities in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry (MEMR Regulation 15/2018) revokes and replaces MEMR Regulation No. 01 of 2011 regarding the Technical Guidelines for the Dismantling of Oil and Gas Offshore Installations. MEMR Regulation 15/2018 covers general post-operation obligations and notably, unlike the 2011 regulation, is not limited to offshore installations. Further, MEMR Regulation 15/2018 expressly states that it is applicable to PSC contractors with PSCs which do not contain any post-operation or other abandonment and site-restoration (ASR) obligations. This represents a change in approach by the Indonesian Government in tackling head-on the ASR obligations of older form PSCs in Indonesia (many of which will expire in the coming few years) and for which ASR obligations have previously been, and remain, the subject of significant legal and regulatory uncertainty.

Foreign investors allowed to bid for big mining concessions The Jakarta Post 5th Mar 2018
The government has allowed foreign investors to bid for mining concessions with a total area of more than 500 hectares, while smaller areas will be prioritized for regional administration-owned enterprises (BUMD) operating in their regions. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry recently issued Regulation No. 11/2018 through which it introduced detailed stipulations regarding the auction of expired mining areas previously operated by various mining permit holders in the country. Under the regulation, mining concessions with areas less than 500 ha will be offered through a tender process to BUMD first, before being offered to national private companies, cooperatives and individuals as the least priority option.

Coal domestic price policy to affect state revenue: Officials The Jakarta Post 20th Mar 2018
The government's domestic market obligation (DMO) policy on coal prices, which has been in effect since March 12, is likely to affect state revenues, a senior official at the Finance Ministry has said. The domestic coal price is set at US$70 per metric ton under the policy and aims to help state-owned electricity company PT PLN to purchase coal for less than the global coal price, as the government has decided not to increase electricity rates until 2019. Coal-fired power plants (PLTU) contribute about 57 percent to national electricity production. Director general of budget Askolani at the Finance Ministry said the policy would cause a drop of Rp 3 trillion (US$210 million) to Rp 4 trillion in tax revenues, while non-tax revenues would decrease by Rp 4 trillion to Rp 5 trillion.   Meanwhile, the DMO policy would affect state revenues in royalties from coal mining companies and would also affect coal companies’ profits, which means that income tax earnings would also decrease.

Indonesia's Plan to Keep Power Tariffs Flat Will Cost $588m This Year Jakarta Globe 12th Mar 2018
Indonesia's plans to keep electricity tariffs and some fuel prices unchanged for the next two years will cost around Rp 8.1 trillion ($588 million) in additional subsidies this year alone, Ministry of Finance officials said on Monday (12/03). The plans, which are slated to be discussed at the House of Representatives, were announced last week as a measure to increase middle class purchasing power. Southeast Asia's largest economy grew 5.07 percent in 2017, Indonesia's best pace in four years, but consumption - the biggest contributor to the economy - remained sluggish at around 5 percent versus a pre-financial crisis era rise of 6 percent.

Government sets coal price for power plants Antara News 9th Mar 2018
The government, through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), set the price of coal for national electricity generators on Friday. The price was set through Minister`s Decree No. 1395K/30/MEM/2018 on the Sale Price of Coal for the Procurement of Electricity for the General Public. "This decision will be effective until 2019 and specifically valid for state-owned power company PLN for people`s electricity procurement," Agung Pribadi, head of Public Information and Communication Service Bureau of ESDM, said in Jakarta on Friday. The government fixed the coal sale price for domestic steam power plants (PLTU) at US$70 per tonne for coal, with a 6,322 GAR calorie category or at the Coal Reference Price (HBA), if the HBA is below $70 per tonne. "If the coal market price is below $70 per tonne, the lowest price will be used," Pribadi said.

Fuel, electricity prices to remain unchanged until 2019 The Jakarta Post 6th Mar 2018
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has insisted on maintaining the current prices of electricity and certain types of fuel until at least the end of 2019, when he completes his term, saying it was part of an effort to preserve the people’s purchasing power. Subsequently, the prices of Premium gasoline (RON 88) and subsidized diesel Solar will stay at 6,450 (49 US cents) and Rp 5,150 per liter, respectively. These rates have been in place since April 2016, even though the price of global crude continues to rise. Meanwhile, the price of low voltage electricity for non-subsidized customers of state electricity firm PLN will remain unchanged at Rp 1,467.28 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Prices for mid-voltage and high-voltage electricity will also still hover at Rp 1,114.7 and Rp 996.74 per kWh, respectively. “As instructed by the President, [...] the prices of Premium and Solar will remain unchanged [until 2019]. We will do our best to keep the prices at the current level,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said on Monday evening.

Government to raise energy subsidies in 2018 Antara News 6th Mar 2018
The government will increase energy subsidy allocation this year as a result of the increase in the world crude prices, which exceed the state budget assumption at US$48 per barrel. "The energy and mineral resources minister and the state-enterprises minister have calculated the needed subsidy addition yesterday," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said in Jakarta on Tuesday. Mulyani stated that the increase in the energy subsidies included diesel oil for state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina. It will receive additional subsidy from the current allocation of Rp500 per liter. "The subsidy for diesel oil in the state budget law was decided at Rp500 per liter. However, it is no longer adequate based on the daily condition. We are now calculating how much an additional subsidy would be needed, and we will report it to the House of Representatives (DPR)," Mulyani noted.

Energy Ministry Scraps Hundreds of Troubling Regulations to Boost Investment Jakarta Globe 6th Mar 2018
Indonesia has revoked 186 regulations in the energy and mineral resources sectors that were considered troubling, as the country seeks to improve the investment climate, while improving the ease of doing business, a minister said. "This is important, as was instructed by the president; we have to be business- and investment-friendly to increase employment and boost economic growth," Energy and Mineral Resources Minister, Ignasius Jonan said at a press conference in Jakarta on Monday (05/03).

Govt pushing ahead with locomotive biodiesel plans The Jakarta Post 5th Mar 2018
The government will decide whether to resume the 20 percent biodiesel blend ( B20 ) policy for the locomotive sector by the end of June, when it expects to complete a fuel performance test in Sumatra. The government decided in May 2017 to relax the B20 policy for locomotives operated by state-owned railway company PT KAI following sporadic cases of engine failure the company experienced since the policy was first implemented in 2016. Since January, the government has been testing the performance of locomotives manufactured by two American companies, General Electric (GE) and Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), running on 20 percent-blended biodiesel on the Tarahan-Tanjung Enim railway from Lampung to South Sumatra. “The testing will run for six months until June,” the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry's bioenergy director, Andriah Feby Misna, said recently.

Jokowi’s 35,000 MW program only reaches 3.8 percent progress The Jakarta Post 4th Mar 2018
The government revealed that the progress of its flagship 35,000-megawatt (MW) electricity procurement program had only reached 3.8 percent as of Feb. 1 since its launch in May 2015. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration initially planned to develop power plants with a combined capacity of 35,847 MW by 2019, more than 75 percent of which would be constructed by independent power producers (IPPs), while the rest would be the responsibility of state electricity firm PLN. However, as of Feb. 1, only 1,362 MW worth of plants had commenced operations, 17,116 MW had begun construction, while 12,693 MW had been contracted and the remainder had only reached the procurement and planning stages. Nevertheless, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s spokesperson, Agung Pribadi, said the figures signified forward movement in the country’s electricity sector, especially considering that only 1,061 MW worth of plants had commenced operations in November last year.

Coal prices projected to remain healthy in 2018 The Jakarta Post 4th Mar 2018
Global coal prices are expected to remain healthy throughout 2018 owing to stable demand from China and increasing consumption in India, says the World Coal Association (WCA). WCA chief executive Benjamin Sporton projected that demand from China would continue to be reasonably strong this year, despite the country’s plan to implement a huge gasification program for households and industries to reduce its dependence on coal. Furthermore, he said India would also increase its coal imports amid soaring demand from its power generation sector and lower-than-expected domestic production. “India is not in a shortage situation, but it is running very closely behind it, and that’s really what has driven coal exports into India, and a good chunk of that is coming from Indonesia,” Benjamin told The Jakarta Post recently.

Laos

Lao gov't promotes investment in potential projects Xinhua 22nd Mar 2018
The Lao government has compiled a list of potential development projects to attract domestic and foreign investment, local state-run daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday. According to the list, local and foreign investors are invited with 27 projects in six provinces out of the country's 18 provinces or cities. The Lao government will provide tax breaks and non-tax incentives as part of efforts to attract private investment in these projects, said the daily. The Lao government hopes the provision of relevant information to business people will help to diversify the country's economic base. Most business operators in Laos are interested in mining and hydropower as the country has plenty of these natural resources. According to data from the ministry, most investment is ploughed into electricity generation and mining. From 2011 to 2015, accumulated investment funding in the energy and mining sectors was about 3 billion U.S. dollars and 2.5 billion U.S. dollars respectively.

Thailand’s Delay on Buying Lao Dam Electricity Could Trigger Rethink Radio Free Asia 16th Mar 2018
Thailand’s national electricity authority has decided to delay a decision to purchase power to be produced by a controversial Mekong River hydropower dam. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) said in mid-February that it has delayed a decision to purchase power produced by the Pak Beng Dam in Laos until an ongoing review of the country’s power development plan can be completed. While that may sound like a technicality, it’s being interpreted by analysts as a sign that, along with other issues involved, the Thai government has been listening to concerns about the dam expressed by local Thai communities and by civil society groups.

Malaysia

Malaysian energy firm Petronas raises 2018 spending for upstream work The Straits Times 22nd Mar 2018
Malaysian state energy firm Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) is increasing capital expenditure for upstream activities slightly in 2018 from last year, upstream chief executive Mohd Anuar Taib said on Wednesday (March 21). Petronas, like other oil majors, was hit by the plunge in oil prices from mid-2014 highs, but sharp cost cuts since then and a modest price recovery that began last year has helped the firm boost profits so it can spend more. Petronas allocated RM26 billion (S$8.7 billion) for upstream expenditure in 2018, Mr Anuar said, adding this was slightly more than 2017 although he did not give a precise comparison.

Solar energy, the way forward The Star Online 15th Mar 2018
Solar energy is on its way to reaching 10% of the installed energy mix in Peninsular Malaysia. Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang said the solar quota will reach that level by the end of 2020. “The figure should not be higher than a certain percentage to prevent a ‘duck curve’, where power production over the course of a day shows the timing imbalance between peak demand and renewable energy production. “In Peninsular Malaysia, we are using around 20 megawatts (MW) daily. The energy storage facility is not yet available in Malaysia and still expensive, therefore power generation must be based on projected demand within the Incentive Based Regulation (IBR) framework,” he told a press conference recently.

Tokyo Gas wins destination flexibility from new Malaysia LNG purchase The Star Online 15th Mar 2018
Tokyo Gas said on Wednesday it signed a heads of agreement to buy long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a unit of Malaysian state oil firm Petronas with flexible destination clauses that are in line with the Japanese anti-trust body's ruling last year. The shorter duration and smaller volumes in the new deal, along with changes to the so-called destination clauses that restrict where the cargoes can be sold, highlight the changes that have occurred in the LNG market in the past few years. Buyers have gained the upper hand as growth in new supplies, mainly from Australia and the United States, has exceeded demand and depressed prices. The deal would be Tokyo Gas' first long-term deal since the Japan Fair Trade Commission's (JFTC) ruling last June that declared the destination clauses to be anti-competitive.

Malaysian palm oil price gains on stronger rival oils, improved demand The Star Online 14th Mar 2018
Malaysian palm oil futures rose on Tuesday evening, lifted by strength in rival edible oils and as demand expectations improved, traders said. "We're seeing a bit of bargain-buying ... Exports could improve as buyers rush to take advantage of Malaysia's tax suspension," said a Kuala Lumpur-based futures trader, referring to a three-month palm oil export tax suspension expected to increase demand and boost prices. The Malaysian government introduced the move in early January. The zero tax is set to end on April 7. The gains may not be sustainable, though, as production in March is expected to rise, the trader added.

How to Green Malaysian Electricity The Diplomat 10th Mar 2018
There are a number of policies and initiatives which the Malaysian government could introduce to bring its emissions down to levels more comparable to the rest of ASEAN. A peer review was recently conducted under the auspices of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on the Malaysian government’s energy efficiency initiatives, which commended these efforts. But it is Malaysia’s energy mix, or lack thereof, that causes most concern. According to the most recent data, only 7 percent of Malaysia’s electricity generation capacity comes from renewable resources, 4 percent of which comes from biomass while 3 percent is derived from hydroelectricity. Much of Malaysia’s total electricity generation comes from fuel oil and diesel (40 percent), natural gas (36 percent), and coal (17 percent).

State oil rights no cure-all for Sarawak The Straits Times 9th Mar 2018
Amid calls for greater autonomy, the federal government has devolved more powers to Sarawak, but the declaration on March 6 that the East Malaysia state has reclaimed full rights to prospect, mine and develop oil and gas has been the biggest announcement so far. The reason is simple - with the rights, Sarawak now deals directly with the money, which is at the heart of decades-old angst felt by some Sarawakians and their neighbours in Sabah. These two states in northern Borneo, which joined the Federation of Malaya along with Singapore after signing the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), have seen rising nationalism in recent years, as civil society and politicians alike make loud claims that Putrajaya has deprived them of rights to revenue and self-determination. And so this week, Sarawak became the first Malaysian state to have its own oil company, dubbed Petros. This means after July this year, the granting of prospecting licences to oil companies, including the federal government's Petronas, will be moved from Putrajaya to Kuching. Timed just before a general election expected by May, the decision to allow Sarawak to control its own oil resources may well turn envious green eyes of some locals to BN's deep blue, as mouths salivate over how much of the RM180 billion (S$61 billion) oil and gas sector they will grab.

Sarawak gains full control over state's oil and gas sector as Malaysia election nears The Straits Times 7th Mar 2018
Sarawak announced yesterday that it now has complete mining rights over its territory, making it the first state in Malaysia to form a state-owned oil and gas company. Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said the formation of Petros, which was founded last year, was part of the promise made by the federal government to return eroded rights from the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), signed when the giant state agreed to become part of Malaysia. "This gives Sarawak full regulatory authority of the upstream, downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry," said Datuk Abang Johari at an event to launch Petros in the Sarawak capital of Kuching.

Sarawak government to assume full control over O&G industry The Malay Mail Online 6th Mar 2018
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg launching Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (PETROS), March 6, 2018. — Picture by Sulok TawieKUCHING, March 6 — Sarawak will assume full regulatory authority over the upstream and downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry in the state by July this year, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg announced tonight. He said all persons and companies involved in the oil and gas industries in Sarawak, must henceforth, have the necessary licences, permits, leases and approvals required under either the Oil Mining Ordinance or the Gas Distribution Ordinance. Abang Johari said the enforcement of the state laws will not jeopardise the interests or investments of Petronas and other companies already involved in the oil and gas industry in Sarawak whether upstream or downstream, but their business and operational activities must be aligned with the laws and regulations.

Malaysia to press EU on planned palm oil ban in biofuels Channel NewsAsia 1st Mar 2018
Malaysia will press the European Union not to ban palm oil in biofuels during talks this week, the country's trade minister said on Thursday (Mar 1), warning the move would hit the rural poor. The European Parliament earlier this year voted in favour of a draft law on renewable energy that calls for the use of palm oil in biofuels to be banned from 2021, amid mounting worries about its impact on the environment. Malaysian Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed said he will raise the issue when he meets with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trade ministers' meeting in Singapore.

Myanmar

Govt Greenlights Electricity Joint Ventures in Mon State, Bago Region The Irrawaddy 8th Mar 2018
The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has granted permission to two joint ventures involving foreign partners to supply power to areas not connected to the national grid. The Southern Myanmar Development Co., a Singapore-Thai-Myanmar joint venture, won a contract to supply electricity to villages in Ye Township, Mon State. According to DICA, the 26-billion-kyat project will generate 10 megawatts of electricity daily with a diesel generator.  The Singapore and Thai partners each hold 33 percent in the venture, while the local partner holds 34 percent.

Myanmar considers direct imports, new infrastructure to lower domestic fuel costs The Myanmar Times 14th Mar 2018
The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and Myanmar Petroleum Trade Association (MPTA) have suggested that Myanmar directly import fuel oil from oil exporting countries in Asia. Myanmar currently imports 600,000 tonnes of oil per month. The imports are mainly from Singapore, which, in turn, buys from India, China, South Korea and Japan, according to the MPTA. To reduce the price of fuel for the locals, industry leaders reckon Myanmar should bypass Singapore and buy fuel oil directly from the oil exporting countries, which would save the country $20 per tonne of fuel. To import directly from India, China, South Korea and Japan, Myanmar will need terminal facilities able to handle shipments of at least 50,000 tonnes-100,000 tonnes. 

Petroleum imports surge on the back of higher demand The Myanmar Times 14th Mar 2018
This was due to increased domestic consumption and higher oil prices, he said. There was also a higher number of vehicles as well as a higher volume of activities in mining and higher usage of power generators. “Power generators are being used in Myeik, Kawthoung and Dawei for electricity. Moreover, petroleum products are used in manufacturing, mining and transportation, where investments have risen,” U Yan Naing Tun said. Petroleum products include diesel, petrol, engine oil, motor oils, lubricants, paraffin and tar. Motor oils represented the highest petroleum product import during the period.  As the Ministry of Commerce has liberalised the sector, motor oils can now be imported freely into the country.  Hence, there are currently around 70 domestic as well as international companies in that line of business in Myanmar. As such , motor oil consumption as well as imports have been increasing year after  year, Myanmar Petroleum Trade Association Secretary U Win Myint said. According  to the statistics from the Ministry of Commerce, during the 10 month-period of this fiscal year, $ 2.3 billion worth of motor oils were imported, exceeding the $ 970 million worth of similar products imported during the same period last year.

Myanmar, China, Bangladesh agree on electric power trading Xinhua 9th Mar 2018
Myanmar, China and Bangladesh on March 9 reached an agreement on electric power trade at a trilateral ministerial meeting in Nay Pyi Taw. Matters relating to starting trilateral cross-border power trading and its implementation mechanism were discussed at the plenary meeting, aimed at enhancing cooperation on electric power trading through promoting the interconnection of power grid and infrastructure development among the three countries.

Philippines

DOE declares Cebu oil field commercially viable GMA News Online 16th Mar 2018
The Department of Energy (DOE) has declared that natural gas and oil resources in the Alegria Oil Field in southern Cebu are commercially viable and that supply may last for 19 years or until 2037. The announcement was made eight years after the service contractor, China International Mining Petroleum Company Limited (CIMP Co. Ltd.), started exploration and drilling activities. DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi made this pronouncement on the government agency's website after signing a Joint Declaration of Commerciality (JDC) with CIMP Co. Ltd last March 14 at the Hyatt Hotel-BGC in Taguig City. CIMP Co. Ltd. holds Petroleum Service Contract (SC) No.49, which covers the Alegria Oil Field. Cusi and CIMP Co Ltd. Chair Lam Nam signed the declaration. DOE Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos and CIMP Co. Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Eric Lai served as witnesses. According to DOE, the JDC outlined the roles and responsibilities of CIMP Co. Ltd. particularly its compliance with all conditions stated in the approved "Plan of Development" dated 19 December 2017.

PHL energy sector takes center stage in world’s biggest industry event | BusinessMirror BusinessMirror 13th Mar 2018
The country’s booming energy industry is expected to get more foreign investors as the Philippine government ramps up its nontraditional trade and investments promotion drive in the upcoming Hannover Messe in Hannover, Germany, from April 23 to 27. The Department of Trade and Industry‐Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI‐Citem) is keen on attracting more investments for the country’s energy sector through export-promotion activities in line with the government’s Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2012‐2030. “We are elevating trade and investment promotion to a whole new level as we tap our partners from the energy sector for inclusive growth in a collective participation in this world’s most important industrial trade show and the largest capital goods exhibition in Germany,” said Nora K. Terrado, DTI  undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group.

Top IAEA official visits PH to discuss use of nuclear energy Manila Bulletin News 7th Mar 2018
The top official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the Philippines last February to meet with its officials and discuss the development of nuclear power as a long-term part of the Philippines’ energy mix and the use of nuclear science and technology. Highlighting the country’s strong engagement in Atoms for Peace and Development, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano met with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato De La Peña. The Department of Energy’s (DOE) recommendations on a national position on nuclear power, which will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, will be based on several energy planning studies undertaken with IAEA assistance.

Coal plants’ share in 2017 energy mix expands to over 35% BusinessWorld 4th Mar 2018
THE Philippines ended 2017 with a total installed capacity of 22,728 megawatts (MW), of which coal has remained the dominant energy source with a share of 35.4%, latest data from the Department of Energy (DoE) show. Coal-fired power plants had a total installed capacity of 8,049 MW. Renewable energy (RE) sources followed closely at 7,079 MW or 31.1% of the total, although taken individually only hydroelectric power plants posted a double-digit share of the total at 16% or 3,627 MW. Oil-based energy sources made up 18.3% of dependable capacity at 4,153 MW. Natural gas had a share of 15.2% or 3,447 MW as of end-2017.

Malacañang: Two areas being considered for joint exploration with China Rappler 2nd Mar 2018
Service Contracts 57 and 72 are top of mind for Malacañang when it comes to possible joint exploration agreements between Philippine and Chinese corporations. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque spoke of two areas in the West Philippine Sea being considered for the joint activity. Service Contract 57 is joint exploration to take place in offshore Calamian, northwest of Palawan, according to the Department of Energy. It is a joint venture among state-run PNOC Exploration Corporation, Mitra Energy Ltd (now Jadestone Energy Inc), and China National Offshore Oil Co (CNOOC), an oil company owned by the Chinese government. Service Contract 72, meanwhile, involves joint exploration in a block of Recto Bank (Reed Bank), which is also being claimed by China.

Philippines' $2 billion LNG project draws interest from Tokyo Gas,... Reuters 1st Mar 2018
There are at least four potential investors for the Philippine government’s planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility, including Tokyo Gas Co Ltd, a government energy official said on Thursday. The Southeast Asian nation wants the terminal, estimated to cost $2 billion and located in Batangas province, south of the capital of Manila, built and operational ahead of the depletion by 2024 of its indigenous gas reserves at Malampaya off Palawan island. Tokyo Gas and the Philippines’ First Gen Corp, along with two other foreign companies, are looking to invest in the project, Leonido Pulido, assistant secretary at the Department of Energy, told reporters.

Singapore

Power retailers may default amidst heated bout in Singapore's open energy market Singapore Business Review 22nd Mar 2018
Companies are coming up with competitive energy packages, but analysts are wary if they can deliver. The liberalisation of the electricity market in the second half of the year will allow the remaining 1.3 million households in Singapore to choose their provider. This has not only lured traditional electricity providers as some large companies like telcos and banks have already started to tap into the market. Starting April, 14 electricity retailers will sell their energy plans at the soft launch of Open Electricity Market. Senoko Energy is one of those 14. Whilst it is a traditional energy provider, it will begin to sell energy packages through a retail brand for households and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

PCS opens naphtha import facilities on Jurong Island The Straits Times 15th Mar 2018
Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (PCS) yesterday marked the official opening of its US$80 million (S$105 million) naphtha import facilities on Jurong Island, a project first announced two years ago in 2016. PCS' newest installation includes eight storage tanks totalling some 240,000 cubic metres in capacity, and a 120,000 deadweight tonnage liquid berth capable of handling large vessels transporting naphtha and associated facilities. According to previous reporting by the Nikkei Asian Review, the berth will be able to dock tankers with a capacity of 50,000 to 70,000 tonnes, doubling the size that can be accommodated.

Senoko Energy launches retail services for consumers ahead of market liberalisation The Straits Times 7th Mar 2018
Senoko Energy has launched its retail brand for households and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), ahead of the full liberalisation of Singapore's power market in the second half of this year. This will give consumers access to energy packages that may be tailored to their needs, the local utility company said in a statement on Wednesday (March 7). In October last year, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) announced that it will be rolling out the Open Electricity Market to promote greater competition and enhance service standards in Singapore's electricity market. The soft launch is slated to start in Jurong next month, and consumers will have the option to buy electricity from a retailer of their choice. This will then be extended to the rest of Singapore in the second half of 2018.

Microsoft is buying solar energy from Singapore rooftops CNNMoney 1st Mar 2018
Microsoft is buying up solar energy from rooftops across Singapore to power its data centers. The US company on March 1 announced a deal with Singaporean solar firm Sunseap to purchase all the power generated by a planned rooftop solar project, which will be the largest of its kind in the city-state. The 20-year agreement is the latest example of major global tech companies seeking to power more of their operations through renewable energy. Microsoft (MSFT) signed two deals last year to receive electricity from wind energy projects in Ireland and the Netherlands for its data centers in Europe.

Fourth liquefied natural gas tank to be completed by H1: MTI Singapore Business Review 28th Feb 2018
It has a capacity of 260,000 cubic metres. The construction of fourth storage tank at Singapore’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal is expected to be completed by the first half of this year. It has a capacity of 260,000 cubic metres. “We believe this will offer LNG traders more options, greater flexibility and better efficiency in transshipments. SLNG will soon call for proposals for the use of its spare terminal capacity to grow its ancillary services business,” said S Iswaran, minister for Trade and Industry, at the LNG Supplies for Asian Markets 2018. SLNG is the company that owns and operates the LNG terminal. “Since the launch of our LNG terminal in 2013, we have expanded its capacity ahead of demand. This additional capacity for ancillary services has allowed for the development of LNG trading activities in Singapore. We now have a sizable LNG trading ecosystem, comprising around 45 international firms with LNG trading desks in Singapore today,” Iswaran noted. Last year, SLNG handled 23 LNG vessel cool-downs and storage & reloads.  

17 F&B businesses in Singapore commit to sourcing for sustainable palm oil The Straits Times 26th Feb 2018
Singapore has been free from the scourge of haze for the past two years, but at least 17 food and beverage companies here are not taking the clear skies for granted. The 17 - including major brands such as Crystal Jade, F&N and TungLok, as well as smaller businesses such as Veganburg in Eunos and NomVNom in Tai Seng - have recently committed to sourcing for sustainable palm oil. Of these, 10 of them made the commitment to do so this year. They include TungLok Group and Commonwealth Capital, whose portfolio includes brands like PastaMania and Baker and Cook.

Thailand

Thais weigh merit of Mekong dam Phnom Penh Post 15th Mar 2018
Environmental watchdogs expressed hope on Wednesday that the Thai government’s announcement that it will delay a decision to purchase power from the controversial planned Pak Beng Dam could signal a shift in the country – and possibly the region – towards renewable energy. The dam, which is in Laos but is partially funded by Thailand – with 90 percent of generated power expected to be sold to Thailand – has faced significant opposition from civil society, local communities, and environmentalists who warn that it could have devastating downstream impacts in Cambodia and Thailand. If it goes forward, construction is expected to be complete in 2024. It is also the subject of an ongoing lawsuit by Thai villagers worried about the downstream impacts.

B10 increase eyed to absorb palm oil surplus Bangkok Post 19th Mar 2018
The Department of Energy Business (DOEB) plans to increase the proportion of palm-based biodiesel to absorb the surplus in crude palm oil. B10 will be available in the local automotive market by early 2019 to replace B7 biodiesel. B7 is 7% palm-based biodiesel blended with 93% diesel, but the government is looking to increase the content of methyl ester made from crude palm oil to 10%.

Scant CO2 tax impact seen Bangkok Post 2nd Mar 2018
The new excise tax on motorcycles based on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will add a meagre 0.05% to retail prices if implemented, says the tax department chief. The Excise Department will offer a six-month grace period for motorcycle makers to help adjust to the new excise tax structure, said director-general Krisada Chinavicharana. The 0.05% tax on motorcycles will have a minimal impact on consumers, he said.

Policymakers aim to adjust legal reserves Bangkok Post 26th Feb 2018
Energy policymakers are planning to increase the volume of the country's legal reserves for refined oil from oil traders to 2% or 7.3 days, up from 1% or 3.65 days. On the other hand, oil refiners are planning to cut crude oil reserves from 6% or 21.9 days to 5% or 18.25 days. For both crude and refined oil, Thailand's reserve is 7% or 25.55 days for oil refiners and traders.

DOEB spots rising fuel consumption in 2018 Bangkok Post 23rd Feb 2018
Thailand's fuel consumption is expected to grow by 3.5% this year to 155 million litres per day from 150 million litres last year, thanks to the domestic economic recovery, says the Department of Energy Business (DOEB). Director-general Witoon Kulcharoenwirat said the growth will mostly come from products other than premium-grade petrol and compressed natural gas (CNG), as motorists now prefer using biofuels. Mr Witoon said annual fuel consumption will move in line with the country's economic growth.

Vietnam

Vietnam Proposes Higher Environmental Protection Taxes Dezan Shira & Associates 9th Mar 2018
Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance is planning to increase the environmental protection taxes on oil and petroleum products to the ceiling level of 4,000 VND (17 US cents) from the current 3,000 VND (13 US cents). The government proposes to bring it into effect from July 1, 2018. Diesel oil will see an increase by 500 VND per liter to 2,000 VND in environmental protection taxes, while taxes on other oil products will increase by 1,100 VND per liter to 2,000 VND. Along with petroleum products, environmental taxes on plastic bags will also increase from 30,000 VND to 50,000 VND per kilo as per the proposal. In January 2018, oil and petroleum product imports reached 900,000 tonnes, growing by 3.5 percent. Import value stood at US$ 552 million, an increase of 10.8 percent. The government had introduced a similar hike in 2014 to balance state revenues, increasing taxes from 1,000 VND to 3,000 VND.

Trade ministry begins $158m energy efficiency project vietnamnews.vn 6th Mar 2018
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on Monday launched a US$158 million energy project to help key industries and enterprises with energy saving. The “Việt Nam Energy Efficiency for Industrial Enterprises” project (VEEIE) aims to promote efficient energy use and contribute to the country’s overall goals of energy efficiency and conservation, according to deputy minister Hoàng Quốc Vượng. The project, which was established by the World Bank (WB) and MoIT on December 29, 2017, and will last until July 2022, has a total budget of $158 million with two-thirds of the fund being financed by the WB’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the rest being provided by the Vietnamese Government.

Giant solar power plant to start operation this year VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 1st Mar 2018
Gia Lai Electricity JSC’s Phong Dien solar power plant is expected to start operation in September and generate power for 32,628 households. Gia Lai Electricity JSC, a subsidiary of TTC Group, has just signed an EPC contract with the consortium of Asian electronics giant Sharp Corporation (Japan), Sharp Solution Asia (SSSA) (Thailand), and NSN Construction and Engineering JSC to construct the Phong Dien solar power plant. Sharp is a multinational electronics corporation based in Sakai, Japan, and has been an integral part of Taiwan-based Foxconn Group since 2016. The plant is located on 45 hectares in Phong Dien district of Thua Thien-Hue province in the Central Coast. The plant is expected to start operations in September 2018, generating enough power for 32,628 average households in Vietnam, or around 0.1 per cent of the country’s population.

Government focuses on divestment in oil and gas sector vietnamnews.vn 26th Feb 2018
Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (Petro Vietnam or PVN) plans to reduce its ownership of Petro Vietnam Gas Joint Stock Company (PV Gas) from the current 97 per cent to 65 per cent. The divestment, scheduled for 2018-20, follows Government instructions for the company to pare its stakes in three State-owned companies to a minimum of 51 per cent by 2020, the other two being Petro Việt Nam Fertiliser and Chemicals Corporation (DPM) and Petro Vietnam Cà Mau Fertiliser Joint Stock Company (DCM). The PV Gas divestment is expected to attract many large investors who would be eager to buy into a company that reportedly contribute 30 per cent of PVN’s profits.

Finance Ministry proposes environmental tax hike VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 24th Feb 2018
The Ministry of Finance has proposed raising environmental protection taxes on oil and petroleum products from the current VND3,000 (US$13 cents) to the ceiling level of VND4,000 (US$17 cents) per litre beginning July 1, 2018. Accordingly, environmental protection taxes have been proposed to increase by VND500 per liter of diesel oil to VND2,000 and by VND1,100 per liter of other oil products to VND2,000. Plastic bags are also expected to see higher environmental taxes, rising from the current VND30,000 to VND50,000 per kilo, if the proposal is approved. Last year, the ministry sought opinions about a draft law on the environmental protection tax hike to the highest level of VND8,000 per litre. The proposal faced fierce opposition from both the public and economists.