January 24, 2024 [The Korea Times]- The country’s major refiners have pledged to invest a combined 6 trillion won ($4.5 billion) until 2030 in developing eco-friendly fuels to counter the environmental regulations that are increasing worldwide and improve a new growth engine for local oil companies and consumers, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Wednesday.
With the pledge, the companies and the ministry have agreed to bolster the country’s refinery industry and stabilize the local consumer market amid rising uncertainties and geopolitical risks to the global energy market.
SK Energy CEO and President Oh Jong-hoon, S-Oil President of Corporate Strategy and Services Ryu Yul, HD Hyundai Oilbank CEO Chu Young-min and GS Caltex Executive Vice President Kim Jung-su on the same day met Second Vice Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Choi Nam-ho in Seoul. The meeting was arranged by the ministry to discuss with the country’s big-four refiners how to improve national competitiveness in the global oil market.
The vice minister and the private firm leaders agreed to secure a stable supply of petroleum and maintain the price within a consistent range. Choi referred to petroleum as an “essential consumer product that takes up a significant portion of the public economy,” and said that its price must be stabilized to prevent public concerns.
Choi said that stabilizing the price requires the companies’ commitment to further investment and a spirit of mutual growth.
“A recent revision to the country’s Petroleum and Alternative Fuel Business Act has ushered in a legal, fundamental ground to further spread the use of eco-friendly fuels,” Choi said in the meeting. “And we want you companies to respond to the legal change by making bolder investments.”
Choi said the ministry is open to sharing problems the companies might experience during any part of the process, from importing petroleum to exporting their products.
“We expect the companies to pioneer new markets and come up with new products to keep their export momentum going,” Choi said.
The company representatives said their businesses need government support for their imminent grievances like securing fuel, tax exemption incentives, technological advancement and regulatory sandbox.
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