1. Pursuant to Article 6 of Decree 87 of the Government dated 13 March 2018 on gas trading (Decree 87), an entity involving in the import of LNG for trading in Vietnam needs to obtain a certificate on satisfaction of conditions applicable to LNG importing/exporting merchant (Import Certificate) from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) before doing such activity.
2. The requirements of Decree 87/2018 seem to be drafted with entities importing LNG to trade in Vietnam in mind, but not for own consumption purpose, for example, a LNG power plant (LNG Power Plant) imports LNG to turn it into power. That said, if the LNG Power Plant imports LNG for own consumption purpose, it is advisable to apply for the Import Certificate because (i) there are no specific regulations guiding how to import LNG for own consumption purpose and (ii) the conditions to issue the Import Certificate set out in Decree 87/2018 mainly focus to ensure the safety of the LNG import activities.
3. To obtain Import Certificate, the LNG Power Plant has to satisfy the following conditions:
3.1. being a company established in accordance with Vietnamese law;
3.2. having a wharf or maintains a lease contract with the term of at least 5 years to rent a licensed wharf within the Vietnam port system;
3.3. having storage tanks or maintains a lease contract to rent storage tanks, which satisfy safety requirements (e.g., the tanks have to be equipped with safety and measuring equipment and emergency valves);
3.4. satisfying requirements in relation to fire prevention and extinguishment; and
3.5. having a gas distribution station satisfying safety requirements (e.g. ensuring the distance between storages and inflammable materials, applying security measures for gas receipt area, ensuring the entry of fire fighting vehicles…).
4. The application dossier comprises of:
4.1. An application prepared in a prescribed form attached to Decree 87/2018;
4.2. Copy of enterprise registration certificate;
4.3. Documents evidencing ownership of wharf or agreement to rent a licensed wharf within Vietnam port system;
4.4. Copy of certificate on technical verification of labour safety of storage tanks;
4.5. Documents evidencing the satisfaction of requirements on fire prevention and extinguishment; and
4.6. If the LNG Power Plant imports LNG through pipeline:
4.6.1. Documents evidencing ownership of pipeline or agreement to rent pipeline;
4.6.2. Copy of a valid certificate of inspection and verification of pipeline; and
4.6.3. Documents evidencing the gas distribution station satisfying requirements in relation to safety, and fire prevention and extinguishment.
5. Upon submitting the application dossier, the LNG Power Plant has to pay an appraisal fee of VND 1,200,000 to the MOIT (Article 43.4 of Decree 87/2018 and Article 4.1(a) and (b) of Circular 168 of the Ministry of Finance dated 26 October 2016 on appraisal fee applicable to restricted business activities and conditional business activities).
6. At law, the MOIT will issue the Import Certificate within 15 working days from the date of receiving a complete and valid application from the LNG Power Plant. In practice, it is likely that it may take more time for the Import Certificate to be issued.
7. The term of the Import Certificate is 10 years from the issuance date. Upon expiry, the LNG Power Plant will need to re-submit an application dossier to obtain a new one, rather than renewing the expired one since the law does not provide for such renewal.