South Korea's top oil refiner SK Corp said it would invest a total of one trillion won ($757.5 million) by 2006 in upstream crude oil development. With the investment, SK aims to secure a total of 650 million barrels of crude oil recoverable reserves, three times as much as SK's annual crude imports and equivalent to South Korea's annual crude oil consumption, it said. The country imports all its crude oil and gas requirements. The investment will also enable SK to buy stakes in oil fields to obtain 150,000 barrels of daily crude oil production, which would cover 18.5 percent of the company's daily refining capacity, it said. "The medium and long term plan was aimed at securing stable crude oil supplies and hedging drastic oil price and currency fluctuations," SK Corp said.
SK will eye competitive areas such as West Africa, in conjunction with the world's top major oil companies to avoid heavy exposure to risks, it said without naming the names of the oil majors. SK Corp, which began upstream oil projects in 1983 have recovered 140 percent of its total investments of $850 million. "The government aimed to raise the portion of crude and oil equivalent from the country's total investments to 10 percent from the current two percent. As a big brother in energy industry, SK Corp wants to contribute to the South Korean economy," SK Corp chief executive officer Kim Chang-Geun said.