Southeast Asian countries are poised to become pivotal drivers of demand in the LNG market by 2030, according to industry experts.
Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade reached record levels in 2022, primarily due to Europe’s increased demand as the region seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian pipelines in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. However, Europe’s LNG demand is expected to diminish in the coming years.
One standout performer in the LNG market is Vietnam, where experts anticipate robust growth in demand over the next few years. This growth is primarily attributed to the government’s Power Development Plan 8, which mandates the conversion of all coal-fired power plants to alternative fuels or their retirement by 2050.
The Vietnamese Project
Earlier this year, Vietnam took a significant step by approving the long-awaited power plan for the current decade, known as PDP8. This strategic move is designed to promote the growth of wind energy and gas while reducing the country’s dependence on coal.
PDP8’s primary objective is to ensure energy security for Vietnam as it embarks on its journey toward achieving carbon neutrality by the middle of this century. The plan necessitates substantial funding, estimated at $134.7 billion, to establish new power plants and upgrade the grid infrastructure. It is anticipated that a portion of this funding will be sourced from foreign investors.
In December, the Group of Seven (G7) nations and other affluent countries pledged an initial sum of $15.5 billion to support Vietnam’s transition away from coal, demonstrating international support for the country’s green energy ambitions.
Despite facing internal disagreements and the need for intricate reforms, the plan had been delayed for over two years. It underwent numerous iterations before receiving approval from Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. It is now pending approval from the parliament, which may occur as soon as this month, marking a crucial milestone in its final adoption.
To achieve its ambitious goal of transitioning to carbon-neutrality by 2050 with a complete phase-out of coal, the Vietnamese government anticipates requiring a substantial investment of up to $658 billion. Of this total, approximately one-fifth would need to be allocated and invested during this decade.
This plan entails a significant expansion in Vietnam’s power generation capacity. The goal is to more than double the country’s power generation capacity to exceed 150 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. This represents a substantial increase from the 69 GW capacity that Vietnam had at the conclusion of 2020.
According to various reports, Vietnam’s GDP is expected to experience a substantial surge, growing from $327 billion in 2022 to an estimated $760 billion by 2030. Simultaneously, the global LNG market is projected to witness growth, increasing from $74.60 billion in 2023 to approximately $103.41 billion by 2028.
Experts have identified three countries, namely Germany, Vietnam, and the Philippines, as pivotal drivers in the LNG market. These nations are considered highly significant potential LNG markets due to their growing energy demands and commitment to cleaner energy sources.
Furthermore, predictions suggest that by 2033, the demand for LNG in Southeast Asia is expected to reach 73 million tons per year, constituting approximately 12% of the global LNG market. This underscores the increasing importance of the Southeast Asian region in shaping the global LNG industry.
The growth story in the LNG market is expected to be primarily driven by two key factors: the ongoing decline in domestic gas supply and the transition from coal to gas in the power sector. These factors are set to significantly boost demand for LNG.
The largest markets in this LNG growth story are likely to include Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. These markets have already established a track record of importing LNG for a number of years, making them well-positioned to continue their significant contributions to the global LNG market.
In summary, Vietnam’s robust economic growth, the global expansion of the LNG market, and the prominence of countries like Germany, Vietnam, and the Philippines as key players in this market indicate significant opportunities and developments in the LNG sector, particularly within Southeast Asia.