The future of a number of planned build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects in Vietnam is uncertain. This comes after a deadline set by the government for Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to seek alternatives to BOTs passed without any formal statement to potential foreign investors.

Electricité de France (EdF), is leading Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Co and Sumitomo Corp in a consortium to build a $400 million, 700 MWe gas-fired plant, part of a complex in Vietnam’s southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. Despite the government’s moves, EdF’s Eric Gourmelon, said officials had told the company there was no reason to doubt that the Phu My 2.2 project would go ahead.

The fate of another project, planned by BP Amoco, Statoil, Tomen and Mitsui, and to be built by Siemens, also looked doubtful, as state press reports said EVN had written to the ministry of industry proposing termination of negotiations. Talks on Enron International’s planned project in Soc Trang province would be suspended until 2005, the reports said.

Initially, it was hoped the BOT schemes would account for around 20 per cent of capacity. But negotiations hit a major stumbling block concerning wholesale prices. The government edict is designed to flush out other ways of meeting the country’s spiralling power demand, set to increase eight-fold from its present 24 million MWh to between 170 million and 200 million MWh by 2020.