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Korea, Norway to cooperate on hydrogen, shipbuilding

South Korea and Norway have agreed to strengthen ties in hydrogen energy and shipbuilding areas with the summit between the two countries’ heads of state serving as an opportunity to pursue future partnerships.

During President Moon Jae-in’s visit to Norway on Thursday, the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in hydrogen energy to make the most of Korea’s strength in hydrogen-powered vehicles and Norway’s in production and supply capabilities.

With Moon and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in attendance, the two nations signed an MOU to cooperate on hydrogen economy and low-carbon technologies. 

President Moon Jae-in (left) and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in (left) and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Yonhap)

Under the agreement, they vowed to exchange policies in hydrogen energy and cooperate on technologies and demonstration related to hydrogen economy, including liquid cargo vessels.

The two leaders also shared the view that their nations have traditionally cooperated in shipbuilding and marine areas, vowing to strengthen the ties in future, including eco-friendly and autonomous ships, Cheong Wa Dae said.

After holding the summit with the prime minister, Moon was expected to visit Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, to inspect a 26,000-ton logistics and support ship built by Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering for the Norwegian navy.

“Taking the summit as an opportunity, the two have come to sign a bilateral agreement on eco-friendly autonomous shipping and robotics,” said Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo. “I wish for companies from the two countries to continue (pursuing) close ties for joint studies, and for the development and standardization of future technologies.”

Prior to Moon’s visit to Bergen, Sung and the CEOs of Korea’s three largest shipbuilders -- Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and DSME -- met with Norwegian companies Wednesday to strengthen partnerships in eco-friendly and autonomous ships.

The signing event was also attended by leaders from Norwegian accredited registrar and classification firm DNV GL, technology enterprise Kongsberg Maritime and chemical company Jotun Group.

Samsung Heavy Industries signed an MOU with DNV GL to cooperate on developing autonomous ships that require fewer crew members. They agreed to build internet of things-based and cybersecurity platforms and remote assistance technologies and to develop designs for autonomous ships.

Samsung Heavy also agreed to partner with Kongsberg Maritime to exchange technologies on energy-saving systems and system automation. They agreed to co-develop next-generation drill ships.

HHI and Jotun Group decided to jointly analyze the environmental and safety impact of solvent-free paint. They will establish standards for design and sites to improve productivity in shipbuilding.

As for DSME, the firm had its design technology, Solidus, for liquefied natural gas holds cleared by DNV-GL.

“Norway is a nation with advanced technologies in future shipbuilding areas, including eco-friendly, smart shipbuilding materials and autonomous sailing. The two nations are complementary as Norway exports shipbuilding materials to Korea, which, in return, exports ships to Norway,” said Yoon Sung-hyeok from the Industry Ministry’s shipbuilding and offshore plant division.

Norway is Korean shipbuilders’ third-largest client. Last year, domestic companies won more than half of orders placed by Norwegian ship owners, according to the Industry Ministry.

By Shin Ji-hye (