Kuwait, South Korea discuss oil refinery, future projects

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Kuwait and South Korea have explored the possibility of expanding bilateral energy cooperation not only in crude oil trading but also in other fields, the Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) said on Friday.

Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Shimali, who is also Kuwait’s oil minister, and South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jick shared the view that bilateral energy cooperation should not be limited to crude oil trading, but expanded “across a broad range of areas,” the news agency said.

It said the two officials hold the talks on the sidelines of regional energy ministerial meeting in Seoul on Thursday.

The report noted al-Shimali noted that state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has recently opened its Seoul office to reinforce its energy ties with South Korea.

It said al-Shimali also underlined that KPC’s subsidiary signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Korea’s SK Energy last year to jointly develop a refinery and petrochemicals complex in Indonesia.

Kuwait Oil Tanker Co. has purchased oil tankers from South Korean shipbuilders as part of its strategy to modernize the fleet, while the Kuwaiti government and companies have awarded South Korean companies with numerous oil and infrastructure-related projects, such as upgrading and expansion of refinery and construction of power stations in oil wells, the new agency said.

Al-Shimali called for more participation by South Korean companies in Kuwait’s oil infrastructure projects, KUNA added.

South Korea depends on Kuwait for about 15-20 percent of its crude oil imports. In July, South Korea imported 518,000 barrel of crude oil per day from Kuwait, making it the second-largest crude oil supplier for the country.

Kuna said the Korean minister expressed his country’s aspiration to activate new bilateral cooperation with Kuwait and appreciated Kuwait’s proposal as two Korean companies are currently engaged in petrochemical projects in the Middle East.

He said that his country has “the capability to cooperate with Kuwait in refinery and petrochemical projects.”

South Korea is facilitating two large-scale oil storage terminals, one for strategic use and the other for commercial use by 2017, to make the country an oil hub for the Northeast Asia. Yoon said he will instruct the state-owned Korea National Oil Corporation to provide Kuwait with further details on the storage terminals.

Al-Shimali went to Seoul to attend the Fifth Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable Meeting, the news agency said. At the one-day gathering, co-hosted by South Korea and Qatar, energy leaders from 21 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Japan, discussed energy-related issues in the Asian region.

Heads of the OPEC, the International Energy Agency and the International Energy Forum also took part in the biennial meeting, Kuna said.

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