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Vietnam to start importing LNG from next year - minister

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HANOI, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Vietnam will begin importing LNG from next year, with annual imports seen rising to 5 million tonnes by 2025, its Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said.

"Vietnam is speeding up the construction of LNG infrastructure, including warehouses and terminals, to be ready for the imports," Dien said in comments made in a pre-recorded speech for the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference to be held virtually next week.

The country's demand for electricity is forecast to rise 10% annually over the next years, he said, adding that its LNG imports will rise to 10 million tonnes by 2030 and 15 million tonnes by 2035.

Vietnam is drafting a new master power development plan and has compiled a list of 22 such LNG power plants with a huge combined potential capacity of up to 108.5 gigawatts (GW), the first of which will be operational by 2023.

PetroVietnam Gas last week signed an agreement with AES Corp to form a joint venture to operate an LNG terminal that is part of a $1.3 billion LNG-to-power complex in the central province of Binh Thuan. (Additonal reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore, Editing by Nick Zieminski)