South Korea

OPEC’s Oil Curbs Grant Russia’s Urals a Rare Ticket for S. Korea

17 Feb 2017   South Korea

The biggest oil producers in the Middle East are helping crude from Western Siberia boldly go where it’s rarely gone before. Top South Korean refiner SK Innovation Co. is set to receive about 1 million barrels of Urals crude in its first purchase of the Russian blend oil in a decade. The shipment was made viable because of rising costs for rival supply from the Middle East, as nations such as Saudi Arabia curb output to comply with a deal between global producers. The cargo is also another example that helps illustrate how the reductions by top OPEC members are rerouting the flow of oil across the globe. In recent weeks, Asia has become a destination for grades that typically don’t show up in the region — from U.S. Mars Blend and Southern Green Canyon to West Canadian Select, Hibernia and White Rose. The premium of Oman crude, often […]

Saudis Lose South Korean Market Share To Iran

South Korea doubled its imports of Iranian crude in January this year from the same time last year, when Iran returned on the international oil market and started exporting growing amounts of oil in a bid to regain market share lost to the Western sanctions. According to preliminary South Korean customs data reported by Reuters , the Asian country, which is also the world’s fifth-largest crude importer, last month imported 1.79 million tons of crude from Iran, which is equal to 424,143 bpd, compared to 859,223 tons in January 2016, when sanctions on Iran were lifted. This development takes market share away from Iran’s key rival, Saudi Arabia. South Korea’s imports of crude oil from Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia dropped by 17.3 percent in January compared to December 2016, to 785,084 bpd, as the Saudis are complying with the OPEC supply-deal cut. South Korea’s total crude oil imports […]

South Korean Scientists Smash Nuclear Fusion Record

Physicists in South Korea managed to keep high-performance plasma stable for 70 seconds this week. This gives the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) reactor the record for the longest ever time sustaining such reaction. [Image Source: Michael Maccagnan/Wikipedia ] This superheated plasma holds the key to unlocking nuclear fusion for virtually limitless and reliable energy. The Daejeon-based institute said they used a high-power neutral beam to contain the plasma. “The world record for high-performance plasma for more than a minute demonstrated that the KSTAR is the forefront in steady-state plasma operation technology in a superconducting device,” National Fusion Research Institute said in a statement . “This is a huge step forward for realization of the fusion reactor.” The KSTAR reactor is a tokamak reactor, one in which heated plasma blobs can reach up to 300 million degrees Celsius. Magnetic fields hold these blobs together, fusing hydrogen atoms to […]

After 20,000 Job Cuts, World’s Top Shipyards Brace for More

26 Oct 2016   South Korea

South Korea’s shipbuilding industry — home to the world’s top three manufacturers — has eliminated more than 20,000 jobs this year. They may not even be halfway through. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and Samsung Heavy Industries Co. are among builders that have sent workers home and the industry could lose as many as 40,000 more positions by the end of this year, the Korea Labor Institute estimated. The sector employed 163,000 people at the end of June, down from 183,000 at the end of December, according to the Korea Offshore & Shipbuilding Association. The “Big Three” yards have lost a combined 6.6 trillion won ($5.8 billion) in the last six quarters amid delivery delays and a plunge in demand for new vessels and shipping platforms used for drilling oil in deep sea. Once South Korea’s biggest export, shipbuilding has now slipped down the […]

Kuwait courts South Korea in the face of drop in crude market share

11 May 2016   Kuwait, South Korea

Kuwait is making a concerted effort to retain its importance as a reliable crude oil supplier to South Korea, where it has seen its market share dip as Korean refiners, spoilt for choice, have picked up more barrels from Iraq and Iran. A high-profile delegation led by Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Deputy Prime Minister and Acting Oil Minister Anas Khalid Al Saleh is in Seoul this week where they met with several South Korean leaders, including President Park Geun-Hye and her energy minister, and chief of the country’s biggest refiner, among others. Kuwait has seen its market share in South Korea’s total crude imports drop to 14% in Q1 2016 from 14.7% in Q1 2015 as Iraq has raised its share to 14.3% from 12.9% and Iran to 8.6% from 4.2% over the same period, data from state-run Korea National Oil Corp. showed. Kuwait […]

South Korea, Iran eye oil and gas deals

3 May 2016   Iran, South Korea

South Korea and Iran signed off on more than a dozen proposals, including those tied to oil and gas, as Iran’s president touts the value of foreign investments. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh met Monday in Tehran with his South Korean counterparts to sign a memorandum of understanding on enhanced cooperation in the oil and gas sector. The signing came as South Korean President Park Geun-Hye met during the weekend with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani . Iran’s president said the visit shows his country is open for business as sanctions pressures ease in response to last year’s nuclear agreement brokered with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany. […]

South Korea’s Kogas cuts 2015 LNG imports by 13.5% to 31.41 million mt on weaker demand

16 Feb 2016   South Korea

South Korean state-owned Korea Gas Corp.’s imports of LNG fell 13.5% to 31.41 million mt last year, as the country’s LNG demand dipped 10.6%, the company said Monday. It marks the second consecutive year of decline in its LNG imports. Kogas lowered LNG imports to 36.33 million mt in 2014, down 7.6% from 39.33 million mt in 2013 — the first time the company reduced LNG imports since 2009. Kogas, the world’s biggest LNG buyer, imported 34.97 million mt in 2012, 33.97 million mt in 2011 and 31.82 million mt in 2010. The company did not disclose how much it imported in the fourth quarter of last year. But given its imports of 22.91 million mt over January-September, the company imported 8.5 million mt in Q4, down 12.6% from imports of 9.72 million in the year-ago period. Article continues below… LNG Daily is essential reading as LNG supply dynamics […]

South Korea’s Iran crude oil imports drop 62.2 percent year-on-year in December

15 Jan 2016   Iran, South Korea

South Korea’s crude oil shipments from Iran slid 62.2 percent in December from a year ago, with imports in full-year 2015 falling 8.0 percent from 2014 in accordance with sanction requirements over Tehran’s nuclear program. The world’s fifth-largest crude importer brought 207,629 tonnes of Iranian crude in December, or 49,094 barrels per day (bpd), compared with 548,598 tonnes a year ago, preliminary data from its customs office showed on Friday. South Korea along with other major Iranian crude buyers should import the crude no more than the level imported in 2014 under the sanctions imposed on Tehran against its nuclear program. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog is likely to confirm on Friday that Iran has curtailed its nuclear program as agreed with world powers, paving the […]

South Korea Unveils Plan to Rev Up Sales of Greener Cars

8 Dec 2015   South Korea

South Korea on Tuesday unveiled a five-year plan to drastically increase the number of environmentally-friendly cars on its streets, as auto makers’ emissions come under intensifying scrutiny globally. The government aims to ensure that hybrids, electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell cars account for 20% of all new cars sold in the country by 2020, up sharply from the current 2%, according to the plan by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. The moves are part of Korea’s wider schemes to cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by 3.8 million tons, or 11%, from business-as-usual levels over the next five years, the ministry said in a statement. Electric-vehicle adoption has been relatively slow in Korea compared with other advanced markets because of the high price tags, the lack of charging infrastructure and low consumer perceptions of […]

South Korea data: Nov crude imports record first decline in over a year

1 Dec 2015   South Korea

South Korea’s crude oil imports fell 3.7% on year in November, marking the first decline in more than a year. The country imported 79.9 million barrels of crude oil in November, down from 83 million barrels a year earlier, preliminary data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy showed Tuesday. The November volume was down 4.8% from the 83.9 million barrels imported in October, the MOTIE data showed. While preliminary data from the MOTIE had shown crude imports dipped 0.9% on year in September, the final imports data released by the Korea National Oil Corp. showed that September crude imports had risen 2%. As such, November imports recorded the first year-on-year decline in South Korea’s monthly crude imports since October last year. The cost of South Korea’s imports fell 45.1% on year to $3.78 billion in November, from $6.89 billion a year earlier, and was also down from […]

South Korea’s Sep crude oil imports mark first fall in 11 months

1 Oct 2015   South Korea

South Korea’s crude oil imports fell 0.9% year on year in September, marking the first decline in almost a year. The country imported 76.1 million barrels of crude oil in September, down from 76.8 million barrels a year earlier, preliminary data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy showed Thursday. It was the first year-on-year decline in South Korea’s monthly crude imports since October last year, when imports dipped 5.8% from a year earlier. The September volume was also down 14.2% from the 88.7 million barrels imported in August, and was the smallest monthly volume since 74.5 million barrels was imported in October last year. The cost of South Korea’s imports fell 50.8% year on year to $3.87 billion in September from $7.86 billion a year earlier, and was also down from $4.85 billion in August, according to the MOTIE data. The country paid an average $50.9/b in […]

World’s Top 3 Shipbuilders Post Record Loss on Deep-Sea Failures

29 Jul 2015   South Korea

The world’s three biggest shipbuilders posted a combined 4.8 trillion won ($4.1 billion) in operating losses in the second quarter, paying the price for a failed foray into deep-sea oil rigs. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and Samsung Heavy Industries Co. — South Korea’s Big Three shipbuilders — all reported losses Wednesday that were far worse than analysts had estimated. The root cause: a venture into offshore oil rigs starting around 2010 to avoid direct competition with Chinese shipbuilders, who had the advantage of cheap labor to make low-profit tankers. Mounting losses at vessel makers are the latest example of difficulties for the global shipbuilding industry after a glut of vessels and low freight rates spelled trouble for Chinese shipyards in recent years, prompting […]

Deep-Sea Plan Fails, Leaving Korean Shipyards Struggling

27 Jul 2015   South Korea

The deep-ocean strategy is coming back to bite South Korean shipyards. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and Samsung Heavy Industries Co. — South Korea’s Big Three shipbuilders — ventured into offshore oil rigs starting around 2010. The goal was to avoid direct competition with China, where inexpensive labor could churn out low-profit tankers at cheaper rates. With oil prices climbing toward $100 a barrel, offshore rigs seemed like a savvy bet. Today the strategy seems to have backfired. Struggling with technology and a plunge in oil prices that has discouraged exploration, Korean vessel makers are racking up debt and could show billions of dollars in losses when they report earnings starting Monday. It’s the latest example of difficulties for the global […]

South Korea’s June crude imports from Iran down 20 percent year-on-year

15 Jul 2015   South Korea

South Korea’s top refiner SK Energy’s main factory is seen in Ulsan, about 410 km (256 miles) southeast of Seoul, February 25, 2009. South Korea’s crude oil imports from Iran dropped 19.7 percent in June from a year earlier, and its shipments from the OPEC country in the first half of this year also declined 5.5 percent year-on-year, meeting international sanction requirements. Iran and six major world powers on Tuesday reached a nuclear deal under which the sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations are set to be lifted in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program. “More oil from Iran will help already oversupplied crude markets become more favorable to buyers … from a long-term perspective, it is likely to help improve refining margins,” said a Seoul-based source at one of the two South Korean refiners that import Iranian crude. Of four refiners in […]

Saudi Arabia goes on refinery hiring spree in South Korea

Saudi Arabia’s state oil firm is on a hiring spree in South Korea, as the world’s top crude exporter seeks engineers to run plants in its soaring refining sector – setting it on course to compete with some Asian countries that are big oil buyers. Technicians from South Korea are an obvious target given parts of its refining sector are struggling and the two countries also have long-established business ties across a range of areas including refining. But Asia has established itself as the world’s biggest refining region and so Saudi moves to become a major refiner are set to increase competition with countries such as India that also refine Saudi crude to supply Europe. Having little prior experience in refining, state oil firm Saudi Aramco is trying to lure experienced engineers and technicians from South Korea with generous expatriate packages. “Working in Aramco has three […]

Saudi Nuclear Deal Raises Stakes for Iran Talks

As U.S. and Iranian diplomats inched toward progress on Tehran’s nuclear program last week, Saudi Arabia quietly signed its own nuclear-cooperation agreement with South Korea. That agreement, along with recent comments from Saudi officials and royals, is raising concerns on Capitol Hill and among U.S. allies that a deal with Iran, rather than stanching the spread of nuclear technologies, risks fueling it. Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a member of the royal family, has publicly warned in recent months that Riyadh will seek to match the nuclear capabilities Iran is allowed to maintain as part of any final agreement reached with world powers. This could include the ability to enrich uranium and to harvest the weapons-grade plutonium discharged in a nuclear reactor’s spent fuel. Several U.S. and […]

South Korea’s October product exports rise 16% to 21-month high

27 Nov 2014   South Korea

South Korea’s exports of refined oil products rose 16% year on year by volume in October, the biggest increase in 21 months. However, many of the sales were done on a spot basis, at lower prices than in previous months, as the country’s refiners drew down their inventories and as lower margins and refinery runs in China saw the country import more products from South Korea, industry sources said Thursday, November 26. The 16% rise — the biggest since January 2013’s 18.7% year-on-year increase — saw South Korea’s product exports reach 41.34 million barrels in October, or an average 1.33 million b/d, up from 35.64 million barrels a year earlier, according to data released earlier this week by state owned Korea National Oil Corp. The October total was also up 7.7% from 38.38 million barrels in September, and marked the fourth consecutive month of […]

Continental brings South Korea to Oklahoma shale

 U.S. shale player Continental Resources said Monday it has signed a deal with a South Korean company to develop its gas assets in Oklahoma. Continental, which has headquarters in Oklahoma City, announced it sold 49.9 percent of its stake in the Northwest Cana Woodford shale basin to South Korean conglomerate SK Group for roughly $360 million. “We are excited to establish this joint venture with such an established and highly regarded major international energy company,” Harold Hamm, Continental’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. Continental has a stake in 37 producing wells in the Cana Woodford shale. The company said it plans to start drilling into the Oklahoma shale basin next month, with four rigs deployed through its partnership with SK Group by the end of the year. Oil services company Baker […]

Conoco Uses Exemption to Export Crude to South Korea

30 Sep 2014   South Korea, USA

ConocoPhillips (COP) is shipping a cargo of Alaska North Slope crude to Asia, making rare use of a Bill Clinton-era exemption to U.S. oil export restrictions. Conoco, Alaska’s largest oil producer, will deliver the cargo to Asia in the fourth quarter, Houston-based company spokesman Daren Beaudo said by e-mail. The shipment was first reported by Louisville, Kentucky-based Genscape Inc., an energy intelligence firm. The Polar Discovery, a 140,000-deadweight ton oil tanker, left the oil port of Valdez in Alaska on Sept. 26 after filling with cargo, according to vessel tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The ship reported today that its destination is Yeosu, South Korea. It’s scheduled to arrive Oct. 10. “ConocoPhillips has the capability to export a limited amount of its Alaska North Slope (ANS) crude oil production to non-U.S. customers as allowed by law,” Beaudo said. “This will enable the state of Alaska and ConocoPhillips to potentially […]

LG Chem to Supply Batteries For Audi Plug-In Hybrids

20 Aug 2014   South Korea

South Korean battery maker LG Chem Ltd. has reached a deal to supply hundreds of millions of dollars of batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles to Audi AG , a unit of German auto maker Volkswagen AG . LG Chem, the world’s largest battery maker by sales, didn’t disclose details of the deal, but said it would help Volkswagen bolster sluggish global sales of plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles. “The batteries will be used in Audi’s next-generation plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Given that Audi shares many auto platforms with parent Volkswagen, we expect more such deals from the German auto group,” LG said in a statement Wednesday. LG Chem didn’t disclose the exact value of the deal, saying only that it is worth hundreds of billions of won. It also declined to reveal when […]

Arctic Ice Melt Seen Freeing Way for South Korean Oil Hub

23 Jul 2014   South Korea

Melting Arctic ice is widening a path for ships to deliver European oil to Asia, stoking South Korea’s ambition to become a regional storage and trading hub. The country, whose proximity to China, Russia and Japan makes it an ideal conduit for oil arriving via the Arctic, plans to add tanks for storing almost 60 million barrels of crude and refined products by 2020, about the same as Singapore’s current capacity. The nation also seeks to leverage its energy infrastructure, which includes five refineries, to become Northeast Asia’s oil hub, said Kim Jun Dong , the deputy minister of energy and resources policy. Global temperatures are rising, breaking up polar ice and opening the Northern Sea Route to tanker traffic for a longer period each year than from July to October. It’s forecast to be ice-free for six months by 2020, boosting South Korea’s appeal as the destination for […]

Canada-South Korea trade deal would remove duties for Canadian oil, LNG exports

16 Jun 2014   Canada, South Korea

A proposed free trade agreement between Canada and South Korea would remove the current 3% to 8% tariff that Canadian oil and gas producers have to pay for exports into that Asian nation, a Canadian government spokeswoman said Monday. Claude Rochon, a spokeswoman with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, said crude oil and LNG exports — with current duties of 3% — would become “duty-free immediately” upon implementation of the FTA. A duty of up to 8% imposed by the South Korean government on imports of Canadian refined products would be removed in stages, she said, noting 96% would be “free” right away with the FTA coming into effect and the remaining 4% over the next five years. Canada is not known to export large volumes of crude oil to South Korea, but Rochon said the deal would significantly improve market access for the Canadian oil and gas […]

South Korean Kogas’ LNG imports inch up on year to 12.61 mil mt LNG in Q1

14 May 2014   South Korea

South Korea’s state-owned Korea Gas Corp imported 12.61 million mt of LNG in the first quarter, up 0.5% from 12.55 million mt a year earlier, the company said in a statement Wednesday. All of the volumes were imported under long-term contracts. Kogas has term contracts for 10.02 million-11.02 million mt/year from Qatar, 4 million mt/year from Malaysia, 4 million mt/year from Oman, 3 million mt/year from Indonesia, 1.5 million mt/year from Russia’s Sakhalin, 1.3 million mt/year from Egypt, 0.7 million mt/year from Brunei and 0.5 million mt/year from Australia, according to the company. The company plans to import an additional 7.1 million mt/year from Australia from 2015 and another 2 million mt/year from 2018, as well as 3.5 million mt/year from the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana from 2017. Kogas’ domestic natural gas sales totaled 11.57 million mt in Q1, down 5.5% from 12.24 million mt in the same […]

South Korea Must Limit U.S. Shale-Gas Imports to 20% of Total, Kogas Says

24 Mar 2014   South Korea

South Korea must limit the share of U.S. shale gas to one-fifth of its total gas imports to avoid excessive dependence on a single supply source, a senior executive at state-run Korea Gas Corp. said Monday. “In my personal opinion, around 20% of shale gas [liquefied natural gas] is desirable. Too much exposure to shale gas LNG is not too desirable,” said Kwon Young-Sik, chief operating officer at Kogas’s resources division. Asian importers of LNG such as South Korea are mulling a number of new supply sources as gas producers in Australia, the U.S., Canada, Russia and East Africa race to get new projects running. South Korea, the world’s second-largest importer of natural gas, imported around 37 million tons of LNG in 2012, according to the International Gas Union. It is positioned to be the first Asian importer of U.S. natural gas, as it has contracted […]

South Korea’s Jan crude imports from Iran plunge 66% on year to 64,419 b/d

24 Feb 2014   Iran, South Korea

South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil in January plunged 66.1% to 1.997 million barrels, or 64,419 b/d, compared with 5.896 million barrels a year earlier, data released Monday by state-run Korea National Oil Corp. showed. The January volume also fell 50.5% from 4.036 million barrels of Iranian crude imported in December, the data showed. For all of 2013, South Korea imported 48.21 million barrels of Iranian crude, down 14.1% from 2012. The US in November extended a six-month waiver from Iran sanctions to nine countries including South Korea, as the countries were deemed to have made significant reductions in the purchases in the previous six months. The waiver extension came after the US and five other global powers agreed in Geneva in November to a six-month pause in efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude sales in return for concessions on Iran’s nuclear program. […]

Seoul gives green light to two nuclear reactors

30 Jan 2014   South Korea

The South Korean government has granted final approval to build two nuclear reactors at the Shin Kori Nuclear Power Plant in Ulsan, about 255 miles southeast of Seoul. Construction on the $7.09 billion project is scheduled for September, with completion slated for December 2020, Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday. Each reactor will have a generation capacity of 1.4 million kilowatts. Yonhap reported Reactor Unit 5 at the Hanul Nuclear Power Plant came to an automatic halt Wednesday morning after a warning signal was activated at the facility, 205 miles southeast of Seoul. “The reactor currently remains stable,” Yonhap quoted a Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. official as saying. The official, whose name was not reported, said an investigation was in progress and may take up to two days. It is the second time since July operations at Hanul’s No. 5 reactor have had […]

South Korea’s Dec crude imports from Iran slump 29% on year

22 Jan 2014   Iran, South Korea

South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil in December slumped 29.4% to 4.036 million barrels, or 130,194 b/d, compared with 5.724 million barrels a year earlier, data released Wednesday by state-run Korea National Oil Corp showed. But the December volume was up 4.7% from imports of 3.853 million barrels in November, the data showed. For the whole of 2013, South Korea imported 48.21 million barrels of Iranian crude, down 14.1% from the 56.15 million barrels it purchased in the previous year. The US said Monday it had taken the necessary steps to pause efforts to further reduce Iranian crude oil exports by allowing the six current customers of Iranian oil to maintain their purchases at current levels for the duration of the Geneva agreement between Iran and world powers that came into effect Monday. Article continues below… Request a free trial of: Oilgram News […]

South Korea’s long-term gas demand to rise 1.7% annually; oil consumption to fall: ministry

10 Dec 2013   South Korea

South Korea’s natural gas demand is forecast to grow 1.7% annually on average to 35.3 million mt of oil equivalent in 2035, compared with 23.7 million mtoe in 2011, the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a report released Tuesday. But the country’s oil demand is expected to shrink 0.11% annually to 99.3 million mtoe in 2035, compared with 102.0 million mtoe in 2011, according to a draft version of the ministry’s Energy Basic Plan. The country’s electricity consumption, meanwhile, is forecast to nearly double to 70.2 million mtoe in 2035, from 39.1 million mtoe in 2011, the report said, noting that the government will seek further power price hikes to curb growing demand. The country’s demand for coal for power generation is expected to increase 0.6% annually to reach 38.6 million mtoe in 2035, compared with 33.5 million mtoe in […]

Iraq Signs $690M Barrier Contract With S.Korea’s Daewoo

Iraq said on Tuesday it had signed a 511 million euro ($690 million) contract with South Korea’s Daewoo to build a sea barrier at its planned Grand Faw port in the south of the country. Under the contract, Daewoo will build the barrier, known as a “breakwater” within 30 months, Iraq’s Transport Ministry said in a statement on its website. It said Daewoo was one of four companies which had bid for the contract to build the barrier at Grand Faw, which is located in Basra, Iraq’s southern oil hub. Grand Faw is one of several projects which Iraqi authorities hope will create a transportation corridor between the Middle East and Europe that will bypass the Suez Canal. ($1 = 0.7404 euros) (Reporting by Raheem Salman; Editing by Louise Heavens)

South Korea’s Oct crude imports from Iran slump 47% on year to 98,097 b/d

22 Nov 2013   Iran, South Korea

South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil in October slumped 47.4% to 3.04 million barrels, or 98,097 b/d, compared with 5.78 million barrels a year earlier, data released Friday by state-run Korea National Oil Corp. showed. Compared with September’s imports of 4.12 million barrels, South Korea’s imports in October were 26.2% lower. In the first ten months, the country imported 40.33 million barrels of Iranian crude oil, down 9.5% from 44.55 million barrels in the same period last year. The country did not import any crude oil from Iran in August and September last year in line with US-led sanctions on Iran, but imported 1.97 million in August and 4.12 million barrels in September this year. South Korea was granted an exemption from US financial sanctions since last year allowing it to keep buying Iranian crude oil as long as it showed an […]

Putin mulls gas pipeline to South Korea through North Korea

MOSCOW, Nov. 13 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said the best option for a pipeline to deliver natural gas from Russia to South Korea is a land route through North Korea. “It is much cheaper and safer, of course, to construct a land pipeline, political problems put aside,” he said in a Tuesday interview with the Korean Broadcasting System. “Should this [pipeline] be realized, [the overland route] would certainly be the optimal solution.” Russian natural gas company Gazprom backed away from an option to build a pipeline through the ocean in 2012, the Platts energy news service reported Tuesday. Putin, in his interview, said it was too expensive to build that type of pipeline because of the depth of the region’s waters. Putin said he wasn’t trying to interfere directly in lingering tensions on the Korean Peninsula but if both sides can agree on the terms of a […]

Stung by scandal, South Korea weighs up cost of curbing nuclear power

29 Oct 2013   Nuclear, South Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) – It started with a few bogus safety certificates for cables shutting a handful of South Korean nuclear reactors. Now, the scandal has snowballed, with 100 people indicted and Seoul under pressure to rethink its reliance on nuclear power. A shift away from nuclear, which generates a third of South Korea’s electricity, could cost tens of billions of dollars a year by boosting imports of liquefied natural gas, oil or coal. Although helping calm safety concerns, it would also push the government into a politically sensitive debate over whether state utilities could pass on sharply higher power bills to households and companies. Gas, which makes up half of South Korea’s energy bill while accounting for only a fifth of its power, would likely be the main substitute for nuclear, as it is considered cleaner than coal and plants can be built more easily near cities. “If the […]