South Korea is ready to start immediately on the joint project with Russia that plans to build the South Korea gas pipeline via North Korea, Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas) president and CEO Seung-II Cheong of South Korea said during the World Gas Conference in Washington.
“First, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and also the end of international sanctions are the prerequisites for promoting this project – the South Korean gas pipeline via North Korea. Conditions must be met before we talk about the project in detail,” Cheong said on Tuesday. “But Kogas has been consulting with its Russian counterparts on this project for a long time. So we think that if the conditions are met, we can easily resume consultations on this project.”
When asked if Kogas would be ready to start the project immediately after a diplomatic decision, Cheong said “yes.” “I hope diplomatic efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula will bear fruit in the near future,” he added.
Seung-II Cheong also said that Kogas sees prospects for joint projects with North Korea after sanctions against Pyongyang are suspended by the US.
History of the work
The idea of a Russian gas pipeline on the Korean peninsula first appeared in 2008 when Gazprom and Korea Gas Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding on the delivery of gas from the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok pipeline to South Korea.
The proposal was to build a 1,100-kilometer gas pipeline passing through North Korea. It would have a capacity of about 20 billion cubic meters per year, with deliveries divided between North Korea and South Korea.
The deterioration of relations between Seoul and Pyongyang froze the project. However, following the meetings between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April, and the summit between Kim and President Trump, prospects for cooperation have returned.