Meanwhile, coal exports in the period reached only US$207 million, equal to 15% of the import quantity.
Most of the imported coal came from Indonesia, Australia, Russia, China and Malaysia, 8.7 million tons of which were from Indonesia, Australia and Russia which made up nearly 84% of the country’s total import volume.
Although the import volume inched up 0.1% (around 1 million tons), the import price rose by nearly 53%, pushing the value up to US$1.03 billion.
From a coal exporter, Vietnam officially became an importer of coal as from 2016. The import volume rose from US$2.27 million tons in 2013 to 13.3 million tons in 2016.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said coal imports will continue to go up in the next decades. He attributed the increase to rising consumption of major electricity, oil and gas groups.
Ngo Son Hai, vice general director of Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), said the group plans to import around 4.7 million tons of coal this year and may raise the volume to 11 million tons in 2020 and 19 million tons in 2025.
Besides EVN, foreign-invested thermal-power plants and plants run by Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) and Petrovietnam need to import coal for their performance.
Vinacomin estimated that Vietnam needs more than 75 million tons of coal by 2020, but local production only meets 50%.
The development of coal-fired thermal power plants makes Vietnam more dependent on coal imports. As planned, Vietnam has to import 50 million tons of coal by 2020 and 80 million tons by 2030.