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Seoul set to sharply boost energy self-sufficiency
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South Korea on Thursday announced an ambitious plan to nearly triple its self-supply rate of oil and natural gas amid U.S. pressure to cut its crude imports from Iran.

The country's so-called self-sufficiency rate of oil and natural gas stood at 13.7 percent of its total consumption as of the end of last year, falling a tad short of its earlier target of 14 percent, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The government, mainly through new investment and development projects by the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC), plans to increase the self-supply rate to 20 percent by the end of this year and 35 percent in 2020, it said.

"Our country is the most vulnerable among all member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in terms of the safe supply of resources," the ministry said in a press release.

"There needs to be efforts to further increase our self-sufficiency rate to a level where it will be fully prepared for any disruption in global supplies."

Fears of a supply disruption were recently highlighted as the country struggles to make up for an anticipated cut in oil shipments from Iran, which currently account for about 10 percent of South Korea's total consumption.

To help KNOC and other companies secure additional stakes in overseas oil and gas fields, the ministry plans to expand the amount of its payment guarantees for energy development projects to about 3 trillion won (US$2.66 billion) by 2017.

The government also will expand the proportion of its budget spent on energy-related research and development (R&D) projects from the current 5 percent to 10 percent of the government's entire R&D budget, according to the ministry.

Along with its efforts to improve its energy self-sufficiency, the country will work to increase its self-supply of six key mineral resources that have been identified critical to the country's economy from the current 29 percent to 43 percent in 2020. They are bituminous coal, uranium, iron ore, copper, zinc and nickel.

Source Text


Source: Yonhap News (Feb. 16, 2012)

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