Korea, Kazakhstan agree to strengthen economic ties

Dec 10. Korea Times

By Kim Tae-gyu

Korea, Kazakhstan agree to strengthen economic tiesPresident Park Geun-hye and Kazak Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov agreed Tuesday on a more broad-based collaboration between the two countries, which have carried out a set of mega-sized projects.

“On the occasion of your visit to Korea, I hope that the joint economic projects of the two nations will gain more momentum and bilateral cooperation will be further promoted,” Park said.

“The government puts a priority on Eurasia cooperation as its major state mission. To do so, Kazakhstan is our significant partner.”

In response, Akhmetov also praised the strategic partnership of Korea and Kazakhstan, and invited Park to pay a visit to the Central Asian nation next year.

“Currently, three major projects are underway in Kazakhstan participated in by our companies. Through the meeting of the two leaders, they are expected to develop in a more brisk fashion,” a Cheong Wa Dae official said.

“Kazakhstan is very significant for us. The national resources-rich nation, which is 11 times bigger than Korea, abounds in petroleum and uranium ores. It has many giant oil fields.”

Along with the Korea Electric Power Corp., Samsung Construction and Trade struck an engineering, procurement and supervision deal last year to build a $2.2 billion, 1,320-megawatt coal power plant in Bakhytzhan, near Almaty, part of the venture’s $4.5 billion plan for power projects there.

A year earlier, Korea’s biggest chemical company, LG Chem, won the right to set up a $4.2 billion petrochemical complex in Atyrau, which will churn out 800,000 metric tons of polyethylene, a raw material used to produce plastics, every year. Two Kazak partners will take part in the works.

Korea National Oil Corp. has co-developed oilfields in the Caspian Sea of Kazakhstan. The state-run corporation is also drilling in the Zhambyl submarine block together with Kazak agencies and individuals.

On top of those three projects, a lot of other work is being carried out by Korean firms in Kazakhstan.