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Korea`s Energy Imports Reach $70 Bil. in H1

Posted July. 12, 2008 07:43,   


Korea`s imports of energy, including oil and gas, reached $70.2 billion in the first half of 2008, surpassing the energy imports of 2005.

According to the Korea Customs Service, Korea’s energy imports from January to June this year reached $70.2 billion, up 62 percent from $43.3 billion in the first half of 2007. The new figure is larger than $66.7 billion spent to import energy during the entire year of 2005. With international oil prices surging, the value of imported energy increased to $85.6 billion in 2006 and $95 billion in 2007.

The government predicts that the global oil prices would stay at around $120 per barrel on average in the second half. If the prices keep rising as suggested by the government, the total value of annually imported energy may unprecedentedly surge to $150 billion this year.

Energy imports claimed 31.9 percent of the nation’s total imports worth $219.8 billion in the first half, shattering all the previous records, which have been collected by the customs service since 1955.

During the first six months of this year, Korea imported 58 million tons of oil, down 1.1 percent from the previous year. Nevertheless, as the unit import price of oil surged 65.7 percent to $101.1 per barrel, surpassing the $100 per barrel mark for the first time, the total energy imports sharply grew.

As alternative demand for electricity and gas rose, the volume of coal import increased 14.3 percent and that of gas import jumped 16.9 percent in the first half. The unit import prices of coal and gas also surged 56.5 percent and 42.2 percent, respectively, from the previous year.

As Korea has heavily depended on certain energy producing nations, it needs to diversify its energy trade partners. Until recently, it has imported 32.2 percent of oil from Saudi Arabia, 19.7 percent from the United Arab Emirates and 11.5 percent from Kuwait. Similarly, three largest coal providers of Australia, China and Canada accounted for 79.2 percent of Korea`s coal import, and three largest gas providers of Qatar, Malaysia and Oman claimed 57.4 percent of the nation’s gas import.