The faith of a $22-billion oil refinery project in Vietnam’s central province of Binh Dinh is now uncertain as its investors, Thailand’s PTT Plc and Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, are mulling over the profitability as global crude oil prices are nosediving.
The foreign investors have promised to inform local authorities in the coming June of the scale and the pace of the project, Nguyen Ngoc Toan, deputy head of the province’s Nhon Hoi Economic Zone, told the Ministry of Planning and Investment-run Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.
The investors have not applied for a license to carry out the project although it was first announced in 2013, according to the newspaper.
The project secured the government’s endorsement after months of debate initiated by state-run energy firm PetroVietnam, which said it would result in an oversupply in the country.
The Thai oil giant delayed its feasibility study in June 2014, citing political crisis in at home.
Meetings between the investors, local officials, and representatives of state-run oil product importer and distributor Petrolimex have been repeatedly cancelled, the newspaper added.
Due to the delay of the oil refinery project, other related projects could face an uncertain future. In mid-2015, Thailand’s Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Limited and KST Energy Development Co. Ltd. - the joint venture between Thailand’s STFE Co. Ltd. and Vietnam’s Khang Thang Corp, planned to invest in Binh Dinh to provide supporting services for the project.
The crude oil, whose prices have sunk to record lows of more than a decade, has discouraged giants such as Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell from investing.
On Wednesday, Brent oil and its U.S. counterpart West Texas Intermediate trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange have fallen below $34 a barrel, their lowest levels in more than 11 years.