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Energy regulations revised to boost stockpile of imported natural gas

By Lim Chang-won Posted : June 3, 2021, 17:06 Updated : June 3, 2021, 17:06

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- As one of the world’s largest buyers of natural gas, South Korea will boost the obligatory stockpile of liquefied natural gas from seven days to nine days. The purpose is to get prepared well for unexpected supply shortages to be caused by a rapid increase in demand and disruptions in imports.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said that energy-related regulations and law would be revised by October to allow South Korea's state gas company to reserve nine days worth of natural gas. Korea Gas Corp. (KOGAS), which operates liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and gas pipelines, imports about 90 percent of South Korea's LNG needs.

KOGAS has stored natural gas, including "deadstock," for the stable management of storage tanks. Under revised regulations, deadstock would be excluded from calculating inventories. Deadstock is the volume of crude oil or natural gas that cannot be pumped for distribution. The level of deadstock LNG has been five percent.

South Korea relies heavily on imported energy sources to meet about 95 percent of its fossil fuel energy requirements. Due to a COVID-19 pandemic, LNG imports fell to 35.08 million tons in 2020 from 40.75 million tons in 2019. However, LNG consumption and imports are expected to grow in 2021 due to a government campaign to move away from coal and nuclear power as sources of energy.

In line with a government campaign to increase the use of renewable energy, KOGAS has promised to expand LNG charging stations in ports and cargo terminals. LNG is a proven commercial solution to meet ever-tightening emissions requirements.

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