South Korea eyes deeper energy cooperation with Africa
South Korea's energy minister and chief executives from the country's energy companies, including state-run Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC), met a group of African energy ministers and business leaders to seek opportunities for oil and gas development in Africa.
Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Joong-Kyung, the top policy maker for energy, industry and commerce, held talks with his counterparts from Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Congo and Niger on the sidelines of the South Korea-Africa Forum on Industrial Cooperation held at a Seoul hotel.
"Africa with 1 bn-strong population and abundant energy resources will be another China and India for the next decade," Choi said in an opening address at the forum.
Choi described his country as "the best partner for Africa", saying South Korea "has both experience and knowhow of rapid economic development" that African nations want to share.
On the sidelines of the forum, Choimet met separately with the five African ministers, calling for them to provide South Korea more opportunities to develop oil, gas and other natural resources.
Some 20 South Korean companies participated in the forum to seek business opportunities in Africa. They include energy developers Daewoo International, LG International and Samsung C&T, power generators, oil/gas ship builders and construction firms.
The forum comes at a time when South Korea, the world's fifth-largest crude buyer that imports almost all of its requirements, is struggling to ensure stable supplies and diversify crude import sources away from the Middle East.
In a bid to win rights for oil and gas development overseas, South Korea is pushing for energy-for-infrastructure packages, under which it would offer aid to improve poor social infrastructure in underdeveloped countries in return for stakes in oil and gas fields.