The long-planned and much derided Trans-Korea gas pipeline project is back on the agenda. buoyed by hopes North and South Korea can make peace.
If realized. it would be a pipeline dream-come-true for South Korea. Lacking its own energy resources or pipelines to regions with gas. South Korea has been shipping the fuel in on tankers as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Based on trade data and average LNG prices in 2017. that cost South Korea around $12 billion in 2017. With LNG prices rising. this year’s tab will likely be even bigger.
With relations between North and South warming. albeit from sub-zero levels. the idea of constructing a 1.200 km (740 mile) long pipeline to bring Russian gas through North Korea to the South’s industrial hubs has been revived.
The project is now part of South Korea’s New Northern Policy.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last week agreed to strengthen energy cooperation as North Korea’s neighbors push for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
State-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) and Russian state gas company Gazprom will conduct a joint pipeline study. according South Korea’s energy ministry.
Despite the renewed enthusiasm. the project remains riddled with risks and challenges.