On July 20, 1975, less than three months after the Liberation of the South and reunification of the country, the Politburo issued Resolution No. 244-NQ/TW on launching petroleum exploration nationwide. This was the Party’s first document on oil and gas exploration, which clearly called for the speedy creation of “a complete oil and gas industry, including exploration and exploitation, transportation, oil refining, petrochemicals and engineering to serve the development of the industry”.
In response to the urgent demand for oil and gas exploration, the Party sent experienced military generals who together with army’s economic units started building the oil and gas industry. The soldiers who knew almost nothing about oil and gas rushed to the sea to seek natural resources and learned from foreign experts how to convert oil and gas resources into energy to serve national economic development.
In 1988, the oil and gas group faced a major crisis when the output of the newly discovered oil fields of the Vietsovpetro Joint Venture declined drastically to the point that consideration was given to dissolving the joint venture. However, the leaders of the Party, the State and the Government encouraged the group to persevere and identify the scientific and technical problems. As a result, oil was discovered in the bedrock, not only saving the Vietsovpetro Joint Venture but also opening a new chapter for energy exploration in Vietnam’s territorial waters.
The industry faced another major challenge in the 1980s regarding the construction of Vietnam’s first oil refinery. Despite the many objections and doubts about the qualifications of the country’s oil and gas professionals, the late Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet insisted on the project and supported the construction of the Dung Quat Oil Refinery in central Vietnam.
The constructions of the Phu My Fertilizer Plant, the Dinh Co Gas Plant, the Ca Mau Gas Power Fertilizer Complex, the Hua Na and Dak-Dring hydropower plants faced similar objections and doubts, but all have been completed and put into operation.
Chicken lays golden eggs
Recently, the East Sea 01 Project exploiting condensate gas and oil in the Hai Thach-Moc Tinh oil field has drawn much attention, contributing about US$1 million a day to the state budget and is being dubbed “the chicken laying golden eggs” for Vietnam’s economy. However, not many people know that the project is being run in one of the world’s most difficult and dangerous geological formations because of extremely high gas pressures and excessive temperatures. The British Petroleum Group BP had to quit this project after spending nine years and US$500 million there. However, with strong support from the Government, and the industry’s determination, the project was successfully completed.
PetroVietnam has built an oil and gas industry chain from upstream, midstream and downstream stages. Its major products such as electricity, fertilizers, gasoline, oil, and gas are ensuring energy security and food security, creating a foundation for the development of other industries and fields.
Despite the “double crisis” of the Covid-19 pandemic and the decline in oil prices since early this year, the group has contributed significantly to the economy.
In the first seven months of 2020, the world’s leading oil and gas corporations suffered losses of US$1.6-21 billion, having to narrow their operations and cut staff. However, PetroVietnam maintained the pace of production, ensured the supply of strategic products for the economy, achieved profits of more than VND10 trillion, and paid over VND38 trillion to the state budget.
The July 2020 discovery of the Ken Bau gas field at Lot 114, near the coast of Thua Thien Hue Province will make an important contribution to the development of PetroVietnam in the upcoming decade, and ensure national energy security.
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