South Korean Vice Economy Minister Lee Jae-joon said Monday that his country aims to be become a Northeast Asian "oil hub" to create new business opportunities.
The official said his country will benchmark Singapore and develop extensive petroleum refining, shipment, storage and trading capabilities to become an "oil hub" in the region.
"South Korea is situated astride the main North Pacific shipping route, with Yeosu and Ulsan possessing deep water ports and proximity to Chinese and Japanese industrial centers that make them ideal choices for the oil hub endeavor," Lee said.
He said the government plans to expand the existing bunker facilities in Yeosu and Ulsan, increasing the oil storage there to 28 million barrels.
According to the official, South Korea will seek a total of 320million U.S. dollars of investment to increase the oil storage capacity at Yeosu to 6 million barrels by December 2011 as an initial stage of the plan.
A multinational consortium made up of state-run Korea National Oil Corp., local refiners, international tank terminal operators and crude oil traders are to sign a initial contract within August to carry out the plan, while a joint business venture company is to be set up by October, the official said.