Korea Gas Corp (Kogas), the world’s No.2 buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), would be "interested" in participating in US shale gas projects, with such investment curbing any potential trade pressure on South Korea from the US government.
US President Donald Trump, who has dropped out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership pushed by his predecessor Barack Obama, has repeatedly criticised the trade policies of South Korea’s neighbours, Japan and China.
"US trade pressure is likely to increase, but US gas investments can work as a tool against trade pressure," Lee Seung-hoon, CEO of state-run Kogas, said at a forum in Seoul.
Expected to become an importer of LNG just a decade ago, the shale gas revolution in the United States unlocked cheap, abundant gas supplies, allowing the country to become an exporter instead.
Benefiting from the Panama Canal expansion last year that allows bigger ships to cross from the Gulf of Mexico into the Pacific, it has been pushing to ship more cargoes to meet surging demand in parts of Asia.
"Securing US shale gas is crucial because it’s an important resource," said Lee, adding that such imports would help keep its supplies stable.
Kogas in 2012 signed a deal with Texas-based Cheniere to bring in 2.8 million tonnes of LNG annually for 20 years starting from this year. Lee said the first cargoes from the deal were expected to arrive in South Korea this summer.
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