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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 1/9   2010-09-01 - VNA

Vietnam’s National Power Transmission Corporation (NPT) and the Electricity of Cambodia (EDC) on August 31 held a conference in Ho Chi Minh city on the Chau Doc-Takeo 220kV power line from Vietnam to Cambodia.


At the conference, the two sides discussed issues including power transmission between the two countries, developing power networks, as well as technical problems and maintenance work.


Nguyen Van Bay, head of the technology department of Power Transmission Company No 4, said that after 16 months of operation, the Chau Doc-Takeo power line has provided Cambodia with over 912 million of kWh of electricity, contributing to dealing with the shortages of electricity in Cambodia.


The project is part of an agreement between the two governments and a contract between EVN and EDC signed in July, 2000. Its maximum transmitting capacity is 200MW with an average output from 900 million kWh to 1.4 billion kWh.


Use of biofuels promoted for nation’s motor vehicles


Bio-fuel, which emits 30 percent less carbon dioxide than other petrols, should be more widely used in the country to protect the environment, experts have said.


Petrol Vietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil), which makes bio-fuel E5, said the petrol was harmless to vehicles.


Made from biomass, the fuel is a mixture of 95 percent of conventional non-lead gasoline and 5 percent ethanol.


Under a trial run by PV Oil, Da Nang Polytechnic University and Toyota Ben Thanh, it was found that bio-gasoline E5 had no negative effects on vehicle engines.


PV Oil also noted that bio-fuel E5 could increase engine capacity by 3.3 percent compared with other gasolines, without a change in consumption.


According to results obtained in research projects, bio-fuel E5 can be used safely for most vehicles made after 1990 and has the same functions as other kinds of petrols, according to Dr Nguyen Huu Luong of HCM City Polytechnic University ’s Chemistry Department.


Luong also said that not all bio-gasoline was good for the environment because it would depend on the way it was made.


Bio-fuel E5 produced by PV Oil has been on sale since the beginning of August at two gasoline stations in HCM City .


However, many residents lack information about the new petrol and were reluctant to use it.


Nguyen Thanh Nguyen, a seller at Gasoline Station 5 in Thu Duc disitrict’s Hiep Binh Chanh ward, said only one or two out of 10 customers wanted to buy bio-fuel. Every day, the station sells no more than 100 litres.


He said customers bought bio-fuel because it was 500 VND per litre cheaper than other petrol.


Pham Long, Thu Duc district’s Hiep Binh Chanh ward, said that he often used petrol A92 for his motorbike.


"I wouldn’t dare use bio-fuel because I lack information about it."


It is estimated that 40 petrol stations will sell bio-fuel in HCM City by the end of this year, and about 4,000 stations by 2012, of all which are under PV Oil, Petec and others, said Ly Hong Duc, deputy director of PV Oil.


Some organisations like PV Oil, Polytechnic University ’s Chemistry Department’s Laboratory and the Dong Xanh Company in Central Quang Nam province are conducting research on producing bio-fuel with advanced technologies.


Tests show bio-fuel E5 has a higher octane rating than other conventional gasoline, allowing for better fuel economy, engine and environmental protection.


The Government has identified the production of bio-fuel as a pivotal industry to ensure energy security, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and protect the environment.


Feasibility studies begin on inter-city express rail links


The Ministry of Transport on Aug. 31 asked the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to start conducting feasibility studies on two portions of an express-railway linking Hanoi with Vinh City (the capital of central Nghe An province) and HCM City-Nha Trang.


Nguyen Huu Bang, director general of the Vietnam Railway Corporation, was expected to have an official meeting with JICA to discuss the issue on Sept. 1.


In an interview with VnExpress, Nguyen Minh Thuyet, vice chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said the decision to start a feasibility study for the Hanoi-HCM City express railway did not contradict an earlier National Assembly decision to block the national high-speed rail network. The plan’s implementation will still face a National Assembly vote prior to being enacted.


During discussions at the National Assembly’s June session, a majority of legislators rejected the rail plan due to the prohibitive costs involved and perceived lack of social benefits.


The project would cost about 56 billion USD. Japan has agreed to grant Vietnam Official Development Assistance to undertake the feasibility study.


According to Do Van Hat, director general of the Railways Investment and Construction Consultancy Company, the study would start sometime in November 2010. It is due for completion by the end of the first quarter of 2012.


In addition, the Vietnam Railway Corporation has asked JICA to help develop a feasibility study for the construction of a 25km express railway from Ngoc Hoi station (south of Hanoi ) to Noi Bai International Airport , Hat said.


Instant pho makes top 10


As the popularity of Vietnamese pho rises internationally, a brand of instant pho has made the top 10 in the IUFoST Global Food Industry Awards.


Vietnam Food Industries Joint Stock Company (VIFON) made the instant pho that was judged at the15th IUFoST World Congress of Food Science and Technology themed Food Science Solutions in Our Evolving World held in Cape Town , South Africa last week.


The International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) is a voluntary, non-profit federation of national food science organisations linking more than 200,000 food scientists and technologists worldwide and around 70 national food organisations.


IUFoST aims to strengthen global food science and technology. Every two years, it hosts a World Congress of Food Science and Technology.


HCM City banks loan 31.8 billion USD


Outstanding commercial bank loans in HCM City totalled 620 trillion VND (31.8 billion USD) to the end of August, reports the State Bank of Vietnam.


Property loans stood at 92.86 trillion VND (4.76 billion USD) or 15 percent, and consumer loans at 32.03 trillion VND (1.64 billion USD) or 5.2 percent.


The remaining 80 percent was for production and business.


Deposits totalled 683.5 trillion VND (35.05 billion USD), up 13.3 percent year-on- year; dong deposits increased 16.3 percent and foreign currency deposits just 5.3 percent.


Remittances to HMC City banks totalled about 326 million USD, down 4.45 percent against July.


An estimated 3.7 billion USD in remittances has been sent to the City since January 1, up 20 percent against the first seven months of last year and the figure is expected to hit 6 billion USD by the end of the year.


Overseas Vietnamese have started to reinvest and the labour export market has expanded to raise remittances.


The State Bank of Vietnam ’s HCM City branch, says foreign-exchange trading by commercial bank fell 22-25 percent in July against June.


PetroVietnam to join Russia’s Eastern Gas Programme


The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) is likely to take part in the Eastern Gas Programme coordinated by Russia ’s energy giant Gazprom.


The issue was discussed at the first meeting of the Gazprom-PetroVietnam Joint Coordinating Committee, which concluded in Saint Petersburg on August 31.


Co-chaired by Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Ananenkov and PetroVietnam Vice President Nguyen Tien Dung, the meeting highly valued the joint work of both Gazprom and PetroVietnam on exploration of the continental shelf of Vietnam as well as prospects for bilateral cooperation in oil and gas projects in Russia and third countries.


Gazprom and PetroVietnam have effectively cooperated in a number of oil and gas projects in Vietnam and created a joint venture, Gazpromviet, to develop projects in Russia and third countries.


The Eastern Gas Programme, which was approved in September 2007, is to create a single system of gas production and transportation in Russia ’s Eastern Siberia and Far East with possible exports to the markets of China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.


The programme also includes the construction of the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok transportation system, which will provide “green energy” for Russia ’s Far East.

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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 31/8   2010-08-31