Korea will develop on its own 35 percent of its oil and natural gas demands by 2020, up from the current 13.7 percent, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Thursday amid U.S. pressure to cut its crude oil imports from Iran.
Korea also aims to raise its development rate of six key mineral resources that are critical to the country’s economy ― bituminous coal, uranium, iron ore, copper, zinc and nickel ― from the current 29 percent to 43 percent by 2020.
“Korea ranks the lowest in terms of resource supply stability among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,” the ministry said in a press release.
“It is necessary to raise the rate of self-development to a stable level in case of a supply disruption.”
Korea developed only 10.8 percent of its resource demands in 2010, lagging far behind France (105 percent), Italy (51 percent), China (30 percent) and Japan (23 percent). Japan targets 40 percent in self-development of oil and natural gas by 2030.
To expand resource development, Korea plans to sign next month a contract to develop three oil fields in the United Arab Emirates and push for exploration of five oil fields in Iraqi Kurdistan by 2013. It seeks to complete talks this year with the Kurdish government to readjust a contract on the exploration.
In April, the Korea National Oil Corp. and Australia’s Woodside Petroleum are set to begin a deep-sea drilling project in the East Sea to find a gas field.
Also this year, the ministry plans to map out a strategy for oil field development in the Arctic region, ways to take part in oil exploration off Greenland and secure energy sources in China, Poland, Indonesia and South Africa.
“Considering this year’s investment plan of $11.8 billion, we believe our self-development rate of oil and natural gas can reach the 20 percent range,” Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo said.
The government will set up the criteria for fair regulatory filing and publicity of resource development, and companies that disrupt market order through exaggerated publicity will be disadvantaged in assessment for state support projects, the ministry said.
Korea has more than tripled the self-development rate of oil and natural gas from 4.2 percent in 2007 to 13.7 percent last year.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)