Investors interested in Laos-Vietnam oil pipeline: Lao minister

2017-01-05 08:59:19 GMT2017-01-05 16:59:19(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

VIENTIANE, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Many investors have expressed interest in the planned construction of an oil supply pipeline project that will transfer petrol from Vietnam to Laos, Lao Minister of Energy and Mines, Khammany Inthilath has said.

Initially, Lao Petro Company was set to solely invest in the 500 million US dollar project, but many fuel companies later expressed an interest in joining the proposed project. Finally it was decided that the project would be fully financed by investors, reported local daily Vientiane Times on Thursday.

The investors are seeking finance to realize the 306 km pipeline project, which will carry diesel and petrol from a wharf at the Hon La coastal port in Vietnam's Quang Binh province to Laos' Khammuan province, said the report.

Assistant President of Lao Petro Company, Veth Malavong confirmed that many fuel companies have expressed their interest in joining the development of the project, including Lao State Fuel Company.

"We will welcome business partners to join the project development," Veth told media on Wednesday.

The feasibility study for the project is being finalised and is expected to be submitted to Lao government for consideration in Feburary, Veth said.

The project, which has been supported by the governments of Laos and Vietnam, would involve the building of two pipelines to carry diesel and petrol, as well as constructing warehouses and pumping stations.

The bonded warehouse at Hon La seaport is expected to be capable of storing 300,000 to 500,000 cubic meters of fuel products; Another 100,000-200,000 cubic metre warehouse will also be built in Lao Khammuan's Thakhek district. A bonded warehouse is a building in which dutiable goods may be stored, manipulated, or undergo manufacturing operations without payment of duty.

Transporting oil products via the pipeline between Hon La seaport and Khammuan is seen as a convenient route thanks to the short distance between Quang Binh and Laos.

The project is expected to help reduce transportation costs for oil products and ensure energy security for Laos.

Minister Khammany said there is another idea to build a refinery plant in Laos and import unrefined oil through the pipeline to be fully processed in Laos in order to reduce energy costs, saying that crude oil on the global market is cheap.

However, he added that proper studies are needed to research potential social and environmental impacts of importing crude oil for a refinery.

"We need to carry out the study to compare which idea is better," Vientiane Times quoted the minister as saying, referring to the import of unrefined oil for refinery or the import of finished oil products as Laos currently does.