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Govt. to hold experts' meeting for development of potential oil, gas reserves off East Sea

June 17, 2024 - 11:28 By Yonhap
An official from the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. holds a press briefing in the central city of Sejong on June 7, 2024. (Yonhap)

The industry ministry and the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. plan to hold a meeting with experts this week to discuss strategies for developing potential oil and gas reserves off the East Sea, industry sources said Monday.

The meeting scheduled for Friday comes as the government and KNOC plan to choose the site for the first drilling operation in July, under the project that could potentially uncover between 3.5 billion and 14 billion barrels of gas and oil in the East Sea, according to the sources.

If confirmed, the quantity would be sufficient to meet the country's gas demand for up to 29 years and its oil demand for four years. The first drilling operation is set to begin in December.

The government and experts are anticipated to discuss various agenda items surrounding the development project during the meeting, including attracting foreign investment and redefining the deep-sea blocks in the East Sea to reflect the discovery.

The government earlier said it will proactively seek partnerships with foreign companies to reduce development costs. Such partnerships are also seen as crucial because South Korea lacks experience in developing natural resources in the deep sea.

Costs have been one of the major hurdles for the country's unprecedented development project, as drilling a hole is estimated to cost around 100 billion won ($72.4 million) to 130 billion won.

The country has found seven potential locations for oil and gas reserves, with an estimated success rate of around 20 percent, meaning 1 out of every 5 holes drilled would be successful.

Kim Dong-sub, head of KNOC, recently hinted that major oil companies have expressed interest in participating in the project, including those from the Middle East, without elaborating on details. (Yonhap)