Amended Petroleum Law: Creating an institutional breakthrough, bringing oil and gas resources to serve development

Up to now, the Draft Law has been commented, supplemented and revised many times and is going to the final stage to submit to the National Assembly for consideration and approval. At the Workshop to collect opinions on the Draft Oil and Gas Law (amended) held by the National Assembly Economic Committee and the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Ho Chi Minh City on August 3, 2022, Mr. Nguyen Duc Hai – Member of the Central Committee The Party, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly affirmed that the Petroleum Law is a difficult specialized law. To go into depth, it is necessary to have a thorough study, especially with the opinions of experts, direct management agencies, enterprises in the Oil and Gas industry; at the same time, requesting the Economic Committee, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and relevant agencies to continue to receive and collect opinions, especially from experts, research institutes, etc. to settle all problems satisfactorily. , urgently complete the draft Law to submit to the National Assembly for consideration and approval at the 4th session (October 2022).

The National Assembly Economic Committee and the Ministry of Industry and Trade organize to collect comments on the Draft Oil and Gas Law (amended)

To put the Law on Petroleum when promulgated into reality, solve problems, improve the investment environment, enhance the attraction of resources, create a complete legal framework to promote and develop oil and gas activities; Based on the reality of oil and gas activities, as well as international practices, there are still some things that businesses, experts and investors want the Draft Law to continue to absorb and adjust so that when promulgated. Law comes to life, meets the set expectations.

Specifically, regulations on the agency assigned to be the focal point to organize the exploitation and use of the products of the basic investigation projects, therefore, may lead to difficulties in the implementation process. exploit and use documents, samples and basic survey results for promotion, investment calling, in-depth research and evaluation.

The Draft Law also does not have specific regulations on the principles of selecting contractors to provide petroleum goods and services for petroleum activities, but only stipulates that the principles of competition, fairness and transparency must be ensured. and effective in selecting contractors to provide services and petroleum goods for oil and gas activities. Because the Bidding Law does not have regulations on the selection of contractors to provide goods and services for petroleum activities, it is necessary to supplement regulations on the selection of suppliers of goods and services for oil and gas activities. oil and gas operations to ensure there is no legal gap between the Laws.

Regarding the issue of “Selection of contractors to provide petroleum goods and services for petroleum activities”, Dr. Nguyen Quoc Thap – Chairman of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Association said that according to the draft amended Law, it is easy to conflict with the Bidding Law. Specifically, oil and gas has the peculiarity that there are a number of blocks located in special areas that are not allowed to bid internationally, but only for limited domestic bidding; or the implementation of contractor selection according to international practices;…

Therefore, it is necessary to adjust the selection of contractors to provide goods and services for oil and gas activities in accordance with the provisions of the Petroleum Law and Petroleum Contracts, ensuring the principles of fairness, competition, transparency. transparency and efficiency and the Government shall detail the selection of contractors to provide goods and services in service of oil and gas activities.

In addition, many comments on resolving conflicts and overlaps in the process of applying the Petroleum Law with other laws such as: Conflict with the Law on Management and Use of State Capital in the regulations on the transfer of oil and gas. assign the participation rights, rights and obligations of the Contractor in the oil and gas contract; or as the content of appraisal of ODP, EDP, EDP reports must comply with the provisions of the law on construction, it is inevitable that there will be problems in the implementation process due to the overlap/conflict between the two legal systems. different laws;…

Offshore oil and gas operations. Photo: Vuong Thai

In fact, conflicts/overlapping between the Petroleum Law and other Laws are quite common in practice. The Blue Whale gas-electricity project chain has been many years behind the original plan. According to Mr. Vuong Minh Duc – Director of Engineering and Environmental Health and Safety, ExxonMobil Vietnam, said that this is an upstream project, but there are oil and gas activities and works outside the area of ​​oil and gas contract, especially especially there are items on the shore.

During the implementation of the project, there were many problems in resolving conflicts between the current Petroleum Law and the Land Law and the Construction Law, greatly affecting the progress of the project. “For example, despite the Government’s policy on land allocation for the project after FDP approval, the conflict with the Land Law leads to delays in land allocation for the project. It is hoped that such overlapping issues can be handled through this new draft law,” said Mr. Duc.

Dr. Ngo Thuong San, former Chairman of the Vietnam Petroleum Association, said that recent discoveries of extremely large gas reserves are the basis for considering “natural gas” as a potential hydrocarbon resource and clean energy of Vietnam in the future. The 21 st century.

However, a particularly important factor to ensure the success and efficiency of gas field development is the synchronization of time, plan, and sequence of completion. Project-wide efficiency is chain efficiency. The delay and asynchrony, lack of decisive direction from the state management agency will lose the element of opportunity, unnecessary damage.

There are many provisions in the Laws governing oil and gas activities such as the Law on Bidding, the Law on Investment, the Law on Basic Construction, which conflict with the Petroleum Law, international oil and gas practices, and are not suitable for the integration context. Extensive economic, political and economic fluctuations in the world and region, the current state of oil and gas resources and national energy security issues, need to be resolved in order to promote oil and gas activities. gas.

It can be seen that, in addition to proposing more preferential policies to attract investment in the Oil and Gas industry to suit the new situation, current status of resources and competition in the region, the great desire is One of the most important things for businesses and investors operating in the oil and gas sector is to remove obstacles about the overlapping and inadequacies between laws and the Petroleum Law such as the Law on Investment, the Law on Construction, the Law on Management and Use of Oil and Gas. using state capital. The overlap between legal regulations will make it very difficult to apply, slow down the implementation of projects, cause unnecessary damage and waste.

Oil and gas workers

Mr. Ho Sy Hung – Vice Chairman of the Committee for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises said that the chain problem is very specific to the oil and gas industry, investment projects are not like usual, need to have regulations and how to connect. To handle the relationship, how to achieve the ultimate goal is to have the oil and gas contract have logic and circuit to deploy on schedule.

Dr. Phan Duc Hieu – Standing member of the National Assembly’s Economic Committee, said that since 1993, it has been nearly 30 years since the current Law on Petroleum, since the last amendment in 2008, the legal system has changed. changed a lot, a series of new laws were born, creating overlaps and contradictions, as well as gaps, difficulties and bottlenecks in the implementation process. Because there is no legal corridor, it cannot operate. Along with that, international practice in general and with the world’s oil and gas industry also changed a lot; plus the characteristics of the oil and gas industry such as large investment, high risk, need to be institutionalized to minimize risks for investors.

Dr. Phan Duc Hieu also pointed out the main groups of contents in amending the Petroleum Law: Adding an institutional framework for oil and gas activities, specifically creating a mechanism for activities that have taken place in reality but the current law practice without regulations; synchronize the Petroleum Law with other provisions of law; policies on investment incentives in new conditions; accounting, auditing and settlement policies; financial mechanism; decentralization, authorization…

Faced with many difficulties and obstacles in terms of mechanisms and policies that have hindered oil and gas activities, especially investment in search, exploration and production in recent years, it is hoped that the revised Law on Petroleum will be absorbed, adjusted and perfected to the highest quality, so that the Law when promulgated really comes into practice in production and business activities of enterprises, solving problems, as well as reducing arising problems. new problems, promote and effectively serve the development of the country’s oil and gas industry.



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