Japan’s Marubeni intends to replace Ørsted in operating Vietnam's offshore wind power


After reports emerged of Ørsted, the world's largest offshore wind power company, exiting the Vietnamese market, Japan's Marubeni has expressed to replace Ørsted by collaborating with Vietnam's T&T Group to develop offshore wind power projects in Thai Binh, a province of northern Vietnam.

Vietnamese government has approved the Power Development Plan 8 (PDP8) in mid-May 2023; however, the implementation details have undergone several reviews without finalization. The industry concerned about the uncertainty of policies, which might affect investors' willingness to participate.

For instance, Ørsted had announced the suspension of all wind power investment plans in Vietnam in June. Ørsted declared that, despite PDP8 has been approved, there is a lack of detailed information on the total installed capacity allocation of each development stage, bidding regulations, and mechanisms for power purchase, which makes it impossible to continue the investment plan in Vietnam.

However, the Vietnamese offshore wind power market remains a highly contested area for industry players. On November 13 this year, Masumi Kakinoki, the president and CEO of Japan's Marubeni Corporation, announced plans to invest billions of dollars in Vietnam such as energy, goods processing and export, and infrastructure development, and hoped Vietnamese government and local authorities to give the support.

Marubeni expanded its business into Vietnam back in 1991 and has diversified into multiple business sectors, with total investments reaching around 90 billion yen (approximately 603 million USD). In the energy sector, Marubeni helped building Tra Noc Power Plant in Vietnam in Can Tho City, the largest city in southern Vietnam 50 years ago.

Pham Minh Chinh (Right) met with Kakinoki Masumi, CEO of Marubeni on Nov. 13. (Photo: VGP/Nhat Bac)

Marubeni is currently involved in 11 power plants in Vietnam, with a total installed capacity exceeding 4,000 MW. Projects under construction include O Mon II Natural Gas Power Plant in Can Tho City, Quang Ninh LNG Power Plant in the northern region, and many wind and solar photovoltaic power plants.

Although Marubeni has not yet announced a partnership with T&T, but Marubeni has indicated that Thai Binh Province is the first location for its foray into the offshore wind power sector.

Besides Marubeni, Norway's Equinor and Petrovietnam signed a MOU in the clean energy sector in November. Equinor has more than 50 years of experience in offshore power and ventured into offshore wind power in 2008.

Jacques-Etienne Michel, the Country Manager of Equinor in Vietnam, emphasized that Vietnam's appeal as an attractive nation. He urged Vietnam to promptly finalize the PDP8, to maintain its competitiveness, especially as numerous countries are striving for investment in renewable energy.

Concerning the offshore wind power sector, Equinor recommended that the Vietnamese government must establish a stable and conducive legal framework, especially in aspects such as property leasing/exploration permits for offshore areas, power grid interconnection and transmission, electricity pricing incentives, and integration into local supply chains.

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