Korea, Kazakhstan agree to expand cooperation in energy

Sept 13. Korea Times. ASTANA

Korea, Kazakhstan agree to expand cooperation in energyKorean President Lee Myung-bak and Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev celebrated the groundbreaking for a joint power plant project in the Central Asian nation Thursday, pledging to further expand cooperation in energy, plants and atomic power.

The $4 billion project to build a coal-fired power plant in the southern city of Balkhash, about 680 kilometers south of the capital Astana, is the biggest-ever joint project between the two countries since they opened diplomatic relations two decades ago.

Lee and Nazarbayev remotely watched the start of construction from Astana via a satellite link.

During the ceremony, Lee said he believes the Balkhash plant will be both high-tech and environment-friendly as top Korean firms with advanced technologies and extensive experience in the construction and operation of power plants are participating in the project.

Lee also said the project will move relations between the two countries a step forward.

Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) and Samsung C&T each hold a 35 percent stake in the project to build a 1,320-megawatt plant that is expected to generate about 7 percent of Kazakhstan’s electricity needs. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

Ahead of the ceremony, Lee and Nazarbayev held summit talks, in which they agreed to continue to expand cooperation in energy and plants, resource development and atomic energy sectors, Lee said.

In particular, the two sides agreed to try to begin construction of a petrochemical complex in Atyrau on the northern banks of the Caspian Sea at an early date, and start full-blown oil exploration in the Zhambyl field in the Caspian Sea early next year, Lee said.

On Wednesday, the two sides signed two memorandums of understanding. One calls for atomic energy cooperation between KEPCO and Kazakhstan’s state-run Samruk-Energy, and the other calls for mineral resource cooperation between Korea Resources Corporation and Kazakh national geological exploration company, Kazgeology.

The two sides also agreed to expand cooperation in the small- and medium-sized industry, science and technology, healthcare and medical sectors, as well as maritime and shipping industries.

Lee arrived in Astana on Wednesday. Kazakhstan is the final leg of Lee’s four-stop trip that already took him to Vladivostok, Russia, for an annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum; Greenland for talks on climate change and resource development; and Norway to discuss Arctic development.

Officials said Lee has developed a close friendship with Nazarbayev as he has held summit talks with the Kazakh leader every year since taking office in 2008. The two last met in March when the Kazakh leader visited Seoul to attend the Nuclear Security Summit.


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Kazakhstan and Korea signed a mining exploration memo


Chairman of JSC “Kazgeologiya” Bulat Uzhkenov and President of “Korea Resources Corporation” (KORES)  Kim Sin-jong signed a cooperation memo.

The main purpose of the memorandum is to establish a base for cooperation between the two sides, through joint exploration for mining projects in Kazakhstan through joint cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit. JSC “Kazgeologiya» and «Kores» reached consensus under the memorandum.

The active participation of the Korean companies in the development of Kazakhstan’s  subsoil is a very hot topic in the investment and economic circles of Korea. The Republic of Korea is one of Kazakhstan’s leading economic partners in Asia.

To strengthen bilateral cooperation and promoting business and mutually beneficial relations in the field of exploration, joint research, development conditions, and other special programs will be implemented through a separate contract containing mutual content and conditions.

Opportunities for joint implementation of projects for the exploration and extraction of mineral resources for mutually beneficial cooperation between the parties have a positive effect on economic development and cooperation between the two countries.