UPDATE 1-VinaCapital, GS Energy to invest $3 bln in LNG power plants in Vietnam

(Adds comment on LNG source, details)

HANOI, March 22 (Reuters) - VinaCapital, one of the largest investment and asset management firms in Vietnam, said on Monday it would jointly invest up to $3 billion in a LNG-to-power complex in the country with its South Korean strategic partner GS Energy.

The first phase of the 3,000-megawatt complex in the southern province of Long An should be operational from the end of 2025, VinaCapital said in an emailed statement.

The company did not specify when it would start building the complex, noting pending regulatory approvals were required.

It said the United states, as a major producer of LNG, would be one “likely source” of LNG for the complex.

LNG is growing more popular as a power generation fuel in Vietnam as coal falls out of favour because of its emissions and climate impact, with the country ramping up plans for LNG import terminals and power plants.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomed GS Energy’s investment in the province as he visited the site of the planned complex in Long An on Sunday, the government said.

Vietnam plans to raise the proportion of gas-fired electricity in its power mix to 21% by 2030 and to 24% by 2045 from 13% currently, according to a draft of the government’s master power development plan expected to be officially released later this year.

The country required up to $128.3 billion of investment in its electricity industry during the 2021-2030 period to raise its total installed power generation capacity to 137.2 gigawatt (GW) by 2030 from 69 GW at the end of last year to power its fast growing economy, according to the plan. (Reporting by Khanh Vu Editing by Ed Davies)