South Korea to drill potential 14bn barrels of oil & gas

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol recently gave the go-ahead to exploratory drilling of a possible oil and gas reserve he said could potentially contain as much as 14 billion barrels of the commodities.

Drilling would begin later this year in the East Sea, off the coast of Pohang, and Industry Minister Ahn Duk-geun said results were expected to come out at the start of 2025, adding that the reserves could be worth as much as USD 1.65 trillion.

South Korea is a major importer of energy, and the reserves would be enough to cover its oil needs for four years and gas for 29 years, Yoon said at a rare briefing.

The country has been seeking out underwater oil and gas fields and in the late 1990s discovered 45 million barrels of gas in the East Sea.

“As a deep-sea mine, it can be seen as a larger exploration resource than the 11 billion barrels of the Guyana mine in South America, which is considered the largest oil development project of this century,” Yoon said.

“From now on, it is time to move on to the exploratory drilling stage to see if oil and gas actually exist and how large the store is,” he added.

The government estimates that about three-quarters of the reserves are gas and a quarter are oil.

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