Academic journal article The Journal of East Asian Affairs

International Cooperation for the Construction of South Korea - North Korea - Russia Pipeline Natural Gas (PNG ) : Effectiveness and Restrictions

Academic journal article The Journal of East Asian Affairs

International Cooperation for the Construction of South Korea - North Korea - Russia Pipeline Natural Gas (PNG ) : Effectiveness and Restrictions

Article excerpt

Abstract

The main purpose of this article is to examine the process and restrictions of the energy cooperation between South Korea and Russia which began with the initiation of the Kovykta gas field project of Irkutsk in the mid-1990s. However, Russia's state-operated gas corporation, Gazprom, reinforced and controlled the governance over the gas field project. Due to Russia's decision to use Kovykta gas for its domestic consumption, the development project was suspended in 2004. In particular, the South Korea - North Korea - Russia PNG cooperative discussion led to a South Korea-Russia MOU in late September 2008, followed by the active discussion between Russian ex-President Medvedev and North Korea' leader Kim, Jong-il, in late August 2011. This project was ultimately predicted to contribute to the stability and peace of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, and to induce the disclosure and pressing of North Korea's denuclearization. However, regardless of such possibility of expanded political and economic cooperation through the South Korea - North Korea - Russia PNG connection, the short-term continuation of the PNG discussions among the three countries is difficult due to variables in North Korea. With regard to the expected effects of this project, internal changes and developments in North Korea will be considered. Although there are such realistic restrictions, this article will explore and analyze the implications of the international cooperation of the South Korea - North Korea - Russia PNG connection project.

Key words: energy cooperation, Russia's energy policy, gas pipelines, South Korea - North Korea - Russia PNG connection project. Nuclear problem

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

The energy cooperation between South Korea and Russia began with the initiation of the Kovykta gas field project of irkutsk, which was owned by England's tnk-BP, in the mid-1990s. at the time, South Korea and China planned to implement 1 million m3 and 3.8 million m3 of gas from the Kovykta gas field in siberia. in 1996, the South Korea gas Corporation (kogas) participated in the preliminary feasibility research on the Kovykta gas field development project; and in 1999, official discussions on the development of the gas field began with President Kim Dae-Joong's visit to Russia. however, Russia's state-operated gas corporation, gazprom, reinforced and controlled governance over the gas field project, which led the BP to withdraw from development of the Kovykta gas field. Due to Russia's decision to utilize Kovykta gas for its domestic consumption, the development project was suspended in 2004. however, Russia proposed to supply sakhalin gas to South Korea and China, over which america and Japan had priority. as a result, South Korea concluded a memorandum of understanding (mou) with Russia to import 7.5 billion tons of natural gas for 30 years via the pipeline natural gas (PNG) from sakhalin iii in august 2008. kogas also agreed to import 2 billion tons of liquefied natural gas (Lng) in april 2009 from sakhalin ii.1

Meanwhile, the South Korea - North Korea - Russia PNG cooperative discussion led to a South Korea-Russia mou in late sep1 tember 2008, followed by the active discussion between Russian President Medvedev and North Korea' leader Kim Jong-il, in late august 2011 since the summit meeting.2South Korea reduced its dependency on the middle East and southeast asia, from which it had the largest natural gas imports, and promoted diversification of its energy income by expanding its imports from Russia. Russia also expanded its exports of gas to South Korea, the world's second largest Lng-importing country, followed by Japan, with which it expected to prepare the basis for activating the economy of the far Eastern region. North Korea was also analyzed to potentially have an opportunity for economic revival with the significant income from the PNG Customs Commission. …

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