By Associated Press - Wednesday, October 28, 2020

HANOI (AP) - The U.S. energy firm AES and PetroVietnam plan to soon sign an agreement on a $2.8 billion liquefied natural gas project, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.

Pompeo made the comments in pre-recorded remarks to a business conference hosted both online and in person in Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital. Later Wednesday, the State Department announced that Pompeo had added a stop in Vietnam to his Asia tour this week.

Arlington, Virginia-based AES Corp. and its Vietnamese partners have been gradually ramping up efforts to develop a hub for importing LNG from the U.S. over the past several years.

Pompeo said Vietnam has approved the project, and that it would “open the door to billions of dollars per year in U.S. LNG exports to Vietnam. That’s a real win-win situation.“

Last year, President Donald Trump and his Vietnamese counterpart, Tran Dai Quang, signed a memorandum of understanding on AES working with PetroVietnam Gas JSC to develop the LNG terminal and 2,250 megawatt power plant at Son My, in the south-central province of Binh Thuan.

Vietnam’s demand for energy is soaring as its economy rapidly industrializes. The U.S., its biggest trading partner, is keen to increase exports to the country to help rebalance its trade deficit, which was nearly $55 billion in 2019.

The U.S. has been seeking to increase American investments in Asian energy, infrastructure and telecoms and has nearly 60 potential projects worth $185 billion, Pompeo said without giving details.

Delta Offshore Energy and a consortium that includes Bechtel Infrastructure, GE Power and other companies also recently announced plans for a $4 billion LNG to power project in southern Vietnam’s Bac Lieu province.

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