Dung Quat EZ set for four-fold expansion

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The government has approved a plan to expand four-fold the Dung Quat Economic Zone in the central province of Quang Ngai, aiming to turn it into a key economic center in the country.

The Economic Zone will be expanded to 45,332 hectares from the current 10,300 hectares, including a new city and a national petrochemical center, the Dung Quat Economic Zone Management Board said.

Under the plan, the annual capacity of the Dung Quat oil refinery, which is located in the zone, will also be raised to 10 million tons from 6.5 million tons.

Expanding the economic zone will help it attract more large scale projects, taking advantage of a new deep-water port, Le Van Dung, deputy head of the management board, was quoted by news website VnExpress as saying Thursday.

The zone, about halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, has granted licenses to 111 projects with a total registered investment of VND128 trillion, VnExpress reported.

The expansion of the Dung Quat oil refinery is expected to be completed in 2015.

Dung Quat, Vietnam's first oil refinery, has cost US$3 billion to build. During a Thursday discussion to review the efficiency of the projects, Vietnamese legislators requested more time before they issue a resolution.

Nguyen Duc Hien, vice chairman of the National Assembly office, said many factors, including jobs for local residents and environmental impacts, need to be asssessed carefullly before decisions are taken.

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