SK Innovation digs into U.S. shale gas exploration

By Seo Jee-yeon
  • Published : Aug 3, 2014 - 20:48
  • Updated : Aug 3, 2014 - 21:25
SK Innovation, a holding company that includes SK Group’s energy businesses, said Sunday it would step up its entry into unconventional oil exploration in line with a paradigm shift in the global energy industry.

“The shale gas boom in the U.S. has had a ripple effect in the global energy scene. The company is considering transforming SK E&P America into a global hub for the group’s unconventional energy business beyond oil and gas,” SK Innovation vice chairman Koo Ja-young said.

He unveiled the firm’s strategic direction in his visit to two U.S. oil shells in Texas and Oklahoma last week, the company said in a press release.
SK Innovation vice chairman Koo Ja-young and other executives conduct a site tour of a shale gas oil field in Oklahoma’s Grant and Garfield counties. The energy holding company of SK Group acquired a 75 percent stake to enter the unconventional oil exploration business in April. (SK Innovation)

Last April, SK Innovation took over a 75 percent stake in the Grant and Garfield County field in Oklahoma and a 50 percent stake in the Crane County oil field in Texas for $360 million as part of efforts to explore unconventional energy sources, particularly shale gas. The deals were SK Innovation’s first direct operation with oil-producing fields since its first overseas oil development business in 1983.

SK Innovation set up SK E&P America last March to oversee its oil development business in the U.S.

According to the company, the Oklahoma field produces 3,750 barrels of oil and gas per day, while the Texas field produces 750 barrels per day.

SK Innovation’s oil development business in the U.S. has been steady since 2000, when the company sold shares of the Texas and Louisiana fields. After the active promotion of group chairman Chey Tae-won’s “resource abundant country” drive, the business picked up momentum once again.

The energy giant has been reinforcing its oil development business capability in the U.S., starting with a gas field exploration project in Louisiana in 2005.

As the nation’s largest oil and gas explorer in the private sector, SK Innovation runs seven oil and gas production fields and 15 exploration fields in 15 countries. It is also involved in four overseas liquefied natural gas projects.

By Seo Jee-yeon (