The Dung Quat Economic Zone (DEZ) with the 3 billion-USD Dung Quat Refinery as its heart can be said to be the driving force of economic development in the central province of Quang Ngai.

The DEZ has also attracted several large-scale projects, thus becoming one of the central region’s most attractive investment destinations, contributing to economic development in the locality and the region at large.

The first 10 months of this year saw 10 projects granted licences to operate in the Zone with a combined capital of over 1 trillion VND (47 million USD), a ccording to Le Minh Huan, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee. Three of these projects are invested by foreign investors.

Three other projects worth over 4,000 trillion VND (188 million USD) are expected to be granted licences in the remaining months of the year, Huan added.

After 18 years of development, the zone has attracted 120 projects with a total registered capital of 8.5 billion USD and disbursed capital worth 4.85 billion USD.

In 2013-2014, the Zone’s management board enhanced its investment promotion efforts, both domestically and abroad, by participating in workshops to introduce the park to leaders in the support industries and agricultural sector in Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

At the same time, many delegations from the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), and businesses from Japan, the RoK, the US and Singapore, along with other international and domestic firms, undertook fact-finding tours to the province to seek investment opportunities in the DEZ as well as in other local industrial parks.

Yasuzumi Hirotaka, CEO of JETRO said following his tour that Quang Ngai is one of the most popular destinations for Japanese firms to invest in, and his agency would serve as a bridge to introduce the locality’s potential to more Japanese investors.

There have been positive signals in attracting investment into the DEZ in recent times, as a number of international businesses have affirmed their intention to deploy large-scale projects in the zone in many fields, especially thermo-electric power generation, gas-power, and wood-pulp.

Japan’s Sojitz Group is planning to team up with India’s JK Group to build a wood-pulp plant in the DEZ with a capacity of 150,000 tonnes per year.

At the same time, preparations are under way for two key projects worth approximately 4 billion USD, which are the Dung Quat Thermal Power Plant (2.2 billion USD) and the expansion of the Dung Quat Oil Refinery (1.8-2 billion USD).

Dung Quat oil refinery operating centre (Photo: VNA)

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has assigned the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) to complete studies on upgrading and expanding the Dung Quat Oil Refinery, to be submitted to the Ministry of Industry and Trade before November 15 for verification.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade was assigned to work with relevant ministries and sectors, as well as the Quang Ngai provincial People’s Committee to verify the project, and report to the Prime Minister in November.

PetroVietnam said the plant’s production capacity would be increased to 9-10 million tonnes/year from the current 6.5 million tonnes. The expansion will start in 2017 and it is expected to be fulfilled after 60-78 months of construction.

Meanwhile, the Dung Quat thermal power plant will be financed by Sembcorp Corporation of Singapore. The Prime Minister has agreed to include the plant in the national power master plan VII. The 1,200MW plant will be built in the form of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) on 134ha of land in Binh Dong commune, Binh Son district, with its construction scheduled to begin in 2016.

Its first turbine will be operated commercially from September 2020 onwards, while the entire plant will become fully operational in March 2021, generating 7 billion kWh of electricity every year.

The DEZ’s management board is building resettlement areas for some 2,160 households, the largest number of households to be relocated in the zone so far.