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President Lee Myung-bak said Wednesday South Korea should focus more on offshore
plants and develop the industry in tandem with its traditional stronghold sector
of shipbuilding, saying such a shift is a global trend.
Lee also said small- and medium-sized companies supplying shipbuilding parts should also be able to produce parts for offshore plants, stressing that technologies involved in making shipbuilding equipment are interconnected with offshore plant technologies.
"It is a global trend for the proportion of offshore plants to increase in the shipbuilding industry," Lee said during an economic meeting at Korea Marine University in the southeastern port city of Busan. "It is time for the offshore plant industry to develop as well."
Lee called for SMEs to hire more talented engineers to get into the offshore plant market, saying they can build up experience by supplying offshore plant parts for South Korean-led projects to develop oil fields in the United Arab Emirates.
In March, a South Korean consortium led by the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. signed a contract with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. to develop three oil fields in the UAE, which are expected to yield up to 43,000 barrels of oil per day.
The deal was part of a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries last year that entitles South Korean firms to secure at least 1 billion barrels of crude from existing oil fields, and to develop three undeveloped fields in the UAE.