South Korea’s KNOC to focus on energy security, push cleaner fuels goal – CEO

DAEGU, South Korea, June 2 (Reuters) – South Korea’s state-owned Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) is seeking to secure more oil and gas, while stepping up energy transition efforts to become carbon neutral by 2030, said its CEO.

The Asian country is the world’s fourth largest oil importer after China, India and Japan, importing almost all of the 2.58 million barrels per day it used in 2020, according to KNOC data. With global energy markets in flux following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, energy security has become a pressing issue for KNOC and other national oil companies.

“As the national oil company, our main objective is energy security. We seek to strategically expand the exploration and development of oil and gas so that we can easily ship it in case of emergency,” the official told Reuters. KNOC CEO Kim Dong-sub.

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“However, we have to be very careful in selecting suitable projects, because we need effective investments.”

KNOC has assets in 17 different countries. Kim said KNOC was “very pleased” with the performance of a drilling partnership with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), while new investment in the Tolmount gas field in the British North Sea, which recently started after delays, will depend on its performance.

The CEO said KNOC is less interested in the deepwater area and more in onshore projects due to cost, and is looking for assets that have a high chance of success as well as lower country risk.

KNOC declined to disclose its expected investment figure.

It is in the process of selling its overseas assets to reduce its high level of debt.

KNOC’s consolidated debt was 19.96 trillion won ($15.80 billion) in 2021, exceeding assets worth 18.4 trillion won.

It plans a project to capture 400,000 tonnes a year of carbon emissions from refineries and other industrial plants in Ulsan for storage in its depleted gas field off Korea’s east coast, Kim said. , adding that the pilot project could be completed in 2026. .

The KNOC started initial talks with major energy companies on carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at the World Gas Conference last week, he said.

($1 = 1,263.5100 won)

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Reporting by Joyce Lee and Florence Tan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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