South Korea, in a bid to secure a stable and reliable energy supply away from energy imports, will spend some $11.8 billion in various oil and natural gas development as well as rare earth minerals projects in 2012.
South Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy, in a statement, said 66 per cent of the total amount, or $7.8 billion, will come from state coffers, while the remainder will be shouldered by the private sector. The total of next year's investments reflects a 34 per cent hike from this year's estimated $8.8 billion spending. It is by far the biggest amount the country has allotted for its yearly energy projects.
The government of South Korea wants to double its self-sufficiency rate for oil and gas to 20 per cent next year. It also wants to improve its combined ratio for six strategic metals, including coal, uranium, iron ore, copper, zinc and nickel, to 35 per cent from 27 per cent in 2010. The proportion for lithium and rare earths will be raised to 12 per cent from 8.5 per cent.
The ministry said the government will grant $262 million to private companies to help fund their overseas projects.
State-run energy developer Korea National Oil Corp. will continue explore oil and gas projects in Iraq as well as in the Ulleung Basin off South Korea's eastern coast next year. Korea Gas Corp., the world's biggest importer of liquefied natural gas, will continue exploring gas in deepwater wells off the coast of Mozambique. It likewise plans to bid for a fourth line of exploration rights in March in Iraq, the ministry said.
State-run Korea Resources Corp. will focus on buying coal and copper assets, the ministry added.
Korea, the world's fifth-largest crude buyer, imports almost all its energy needs.
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