SEOUL (Dow Jones), Jan. 19, 2010
South Korean companies plan to nearly double investments in overseas resources, including oil assets, this year to boost the country's energy self-sufficiency, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Tuesday.
The companies expect to invest $12.2 billion in overseas resources in 2010 compared with tentative investment of $6.73 billion in 2009, the ministry said in a statement.
State energy firms, including Korea National Oil Corp., expect to invest $8.3 billion in 2010, up from $5.64 billion last year, while private sector companies plan to spend $3.9 billion this year, up from $1.09 billion in 2009.
In 2010, state-run KNOC plans to invest $6.5 billion or more in acquiring an overseas oil firm that has daily production capacity of 50,000-100,000 barrels, while state-run Korea Gas Corp. plans to invest about $1 billion in oil development projects in Iraq, the ministry said.
Accordingly, the government plans to achieve an oil-and-gas self-sufficiency ratio to 10% or higher in 2010, eclipsing its previous target of 9.1%. At the end of 2009, the ratio stood at 8.1%.
KNOC has been aggressively expanding its assets this year to bolster the resource-poor country's energy security.
In December, KNOC and its Kazakhstan partner, which it hasn't identified, purchased Kazakhstan's Sumbe for $335 million. Also last year, KNOC bought Canada's Harvest Energy Trust for C$4.1 billion, in South Korea's largest overseas energy investment to date.
Early last year, KNOC and Colombia's state-controlled Ecopetrol SA jointly purchased Peru's PetroTech Peruana SA for $900 million.
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