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S. Korea says it can secure over 2-month stockpile of urea solution for vehicles

A cargo truck is refilled with urea solution, also known as diesel exhaust fluid, as other trucks wait in line in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, Friday. (Yonhap)
A cargo truck is refilled with urea solution, also known as diesel exhaust fluid, as other trucks wait in line in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, Friday. (Yonhap)
South Korea said Wednesday it can secure a two-and-a half month stockpile of urea solution for vehicles through various means amid a short supply of the key fluid needed in diesel cars to cut emissions.

The government said the estimated stockpile is calculated based on planned imports from Australia, Vietnam and China, as well as secured amounts through crackdowns and the military's reserves.

"Given the unspecified amount of domestic reserves, there will be no problem in securing urea solution enough to last for three months," an official said.

South Korea has been grappling with a shortage of urea solution and its surging prices in recent weeks, as China tightened exports of urea in October amid a power crisis caused by a coal supply shortage. Coal is the main feedstock to produce urea.

South Korea said 97.6 percent of its urea imports came from China in the first nine months of this year, up from 88 percent in 2020, underscoring its heavy reliance on the resource-rich neighbor for the key material.

China has confirmed it will go ahead with inspection processes on 18,700 tons of urea before exporting it to South Korea, Seoul's foreign ministry said earlier in the day.

South Korea is also in talks with about 10 countries, including Vietnam, to import 10,000 tons of urea to ease the supply crunch.

The country plans to import 200 tons of urea from Vietnam next week. A Korean firm has inked a deal to bring in 5,000 tons from the Southeast Asian country in December. The government plans to check whether the additionally secured amount can be used for vehicles.

A South Korean tanker transport plane will depart for Australia later in the day to bring in 27,000 liters of urea solution.

Special inspection teams began crackdowns on hoarding of urea or its solution this week. They found 299 local companies to have held 15.61 million liters of urea solution for vehicles.

Last year, South Korea imported 80,000 tons of urea, an amount sufficient to produce 660,000 liters of urea solution for diesel cars. (Yonhap)

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