Keen Interest from the US Parlays into Big Investment Dollars

US investment inflows in Vietnam reportedly reached US$4.4 billion to date, fuelled by a series of recent large-scale projects on the books, according to statistics from the ministry of planning and investment.

Foreign direct investment projects to November from the US are reportedly worth $2 billion, ministry statistics said.

The balance was sourced from the US firms based in Hong Kong and Singapore.

With the combined investment sources, the US ranks fifth among 75 nations and territories that have investments in Vietnam, the ministry said, adding that the country would move higher on the list in the near future.

Key industries capturing the US investors’ keen interest include petroleum, electricity, seaport logistics and entertainment.

Recently, ConocoPhillips, a giant investor in the oil and gas field, with investment of $1 billion in projects in Vietnam, unveiled its plan to inject another $1 billion in local oil exploitation.

Under the plan, ConocoPhillips will inject $115 million in developing block 15.1 which covers the Black Tiger (Su Tu Den), White Tiger (Bach Ho), Golden Tiger (Su Tu Vang) and Brown Tiger (Su Tu Nau) oil fields.

In Vietnam, ConocoPhillips holds a 23.25 percent interest in Block 15.1, 36 percent at 15.2 and 70 percent in 133 and 134, 50 percent in 5.3, and 16.33 percent at the Nam Con Son gas pipeline.

Electricity is another high-potential industry for US investors, who proposed several projects.

AES Altai and Power Group have recently entered a deal with the Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group to build the thermo-power facility Mong Duong 2 valued at $1.4 billion.

The 1,000 MW electricity plant will be the highest-valued capital project by a US company in Vietnam after it receives the government nod.

Meanwhile Gannon Group is seeking to develop a 1,000 MW electricity plant in the Nhon Trach city, the southern Dong Nai Province.

Giant US investors also took the keen interest in seaport business opportunity in Vietnam.

Washington-based SSA Marine has joined forces with the state-owned Vietnam Shipping Lines (Vinalines) under a recent deal singed in mid-Nov to form a $100-million container terminal joint venture.

The first joint venture formed with a US company to build a Vietnamese port would build three large wharves at Cai Lan port, about 200 kilometers east of Hanoi.

Vinalines will contribute 51 percent of total funding for the facility, with SSA Marine providing the balance. The joint venture had a 50-year operating license.

The container terminal is expected to become operational in 2008.

In October, the planning and investment ministry issued the certificate to SSA and Saigon Port Joint Ventures to develop the Cai Mep International Container Terminal worth $160 million on a 605,500 sq.m-site in the Cai Mep – Thi Vai complex near Vung Tau resort city.

The resort and entertainment industry has also attracted great interest from US investors.

Now Rockingham Asset Management LLC, a Los Angeles-based liability company, is waiting for the central government approval to set up a $1 billion resort and entertainment complex on Phu Quoc that will occupy 1,000 hectares.

The construction plans include restaurants, hotels, an airport and seaport, a motor racing track and cultural services areas.

The US investor’s proposal has suited the government's master plan to turn 600 of the island into an internationally recognized aqua-ecological tourism venue, as well as a trade and cultural exchange center.

Source: Thanh Nien News