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Government releases guiding text for new Law on Oil and Gas
To promptly guide the novel and progressive provisions of the 2022 Law on Oil and Gas (the Law), on July 1, the effective date of the Law, the Government promulgated Decree 45/2023/ND-CP in replacement of Decree 95 of 2015 detailing a number of articles of the 1993 Petroleum Law and Decree 33 of 2013 issuing the model product sharing contract.
PetroVietnam’s oil rigs at the Bach Ho oil field offshore Ba Ria-Vung Tau province__Photo: VNA/VLLF

To promptly guide the novel and progressive provisions of the 2022 Law on Oil and Gas (the Law), on July 1, the effective date of the Law, the Government promulgated Decree 45/2023/ND-CP in replacement of Decree 95 of 2015 detailing a number of articles of the 1993 Petroleum Law and Decree 33 of 2013 issuing the model product sharing contract.

Decree 45, also coming into force on the beginning of July, details a number of articles of the Law regarding basic oil and gas investigation, oil and gas contracts appraisal and approval of lists of oil and gas blocks, safety of oil and gas activities, and oil and gas projects, among others. The text applies to Vietnamese and foreign agencies, organizations and individuals involved in oil and gas activities in Vietnam.

Basic oil and gas investigation

The Decree provides for the formulation and approval of the list of basic oil and gas investigation schemes and estimation of expenses for implementation of these schemes; conditions on organizations in charge of basic oil and gas investigation; approval of detailed plans and cost estimates; examination and supervision; pre-acceptance test and approval of results of basic oil and gas investigation schemes; handover of basic oil and gas investigation results; preservation of specimens of, and documents, information and data on, basic oil and gas investigation results; and management, exploitation and use of such specimens, documents, information, data and reports.

According expert Doan Van Thuan, head of the Economic Research Division of the Vietnam Petroleum Institute, the Decree gives basic and adequate guidance with reference to the previous guiding texts and novel provisions of the Law. Regarding basic oil and gas investigation activities, the Decree further clarifies the order, procedures and competence of authorities at all levels for basic oil and gas investigation, and additionally provides time limits for performance of such procedures.

Regarding the state management of basic oil and gas investigation and oil and gas activities, the Decree give provisions on dossiers, order and procedures for appraisal and approval of matters falling within the Prime Minister’s competence (Article 64); dossiers, order and procedures for appraisal and approval of matters falling within the competence of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (Article 65); and principles for receiving dossiers and settling procedures related to basic oil and gas investigation and oil and gas activities (Article 66).

Oil and gas contracts

The model product sharing contract is provided in Appendix I to the Decree. Compared to Decree 95 of 2015, Decree 45 additionally provides plans on subsequent handling of oil and gas fields, field clusters and blocks currently in exploitation under oil and gas contracts; the takeover by the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group of oil and gas fields, field clusters and blocks in status quo from contractors and management of oil and gas activities until new oil and gas contracts are signed; and mechanisms for management, accounting and use of property and takeover of all the rights from contractors to enter into oil and gas contracts in special cases.

For oil and gas contracts for which investment registration certificates are granted before July 1, the competence, order and procedures for appraising and approving new reports, plans and programs or modified ones after this date must comply with the Decree. Contractor-representing companies in managing oil and gas activities established before July 1 may continue their operation under oil and gas contracts.

Appraisal and approval of the list of oil and gas blocks

To guide Article 7 of the Law concerning procedures for appraisal and approval of the list of oil and gas blocks, Article 12 of the Decree says that the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group is responsible for drawing up or modifying the list of oil and gas blocks and submitting, by hand-delivery or by post, two dossiers (one dossier with original papers and the other with copied papers) to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for appraisal.

Such a dossier must comprise a request for approval of the new or modified list of oil and gas blocks; information on newly formed oil and gas blocks or on the adjustment of oil and gas blocks; and relevant documents.

Within five working days after receiving a valid dossier, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will send a request to the Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment; Planning and Investment; Justice; National Defense; Foreign Affairs; Public Security; Transport; and Construction, and related ministries, sectors and localities, for opinion.

Within 15 days after receiving the request from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the consulted ministries, sectors and localities will have to give their written opinions on contents falling under their state management to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Subsequently, within 45 days after receiving a valid dossier, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will have to complete the appraisal thereof and finalize and submit the new or modified list of oil and gas blocks to the Prime Minister for consideration and approval.

A dossier for approval of the above list must comprise a report on appraisal results to the Prime Minister, requesting approval of the list of oil and gas blocks; documents on the list of oil and gas blocks drawn up by the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group; and a sum-up report on making of replies, and explanation about replies, to the opinions of the above ministries and sectors, and a paper showing copies of such opinions.

The Decree allows organizations and individuals to access, refer to, exploit and use specimens of, and documents, information, data and reports on, basic oil and gas investigation results in the form of public services and pay a service charge in accordance with the law on charges and fees.

Particularly, organizations in charge of implementing basic oil and gas investigation schemes under agreements signed with the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group may propose cost recovery when participating in the bidding and signing of oil and gas contracts at oil and gas blocks in areas where basic investigation has been carried out under such schemes.- (VLLF)

                                                                                                                 Vu Van Anh

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