Insights and Commentaries

Insights and Commentaries

Korea Global CCS Symposium 2015

15th November 2015

Topic(s): Carbon capture, law and regulation, Policy, Public engagement, use and storage (CCUS)

In October 2015 the Global CCS Institute sponsored a global carbon capture and storage (CCS) symposium in Gwang-gu, South Korea, including an Institute Member's Meeting. In this Insight the Institute's Jessica Morton, Public Engagement Adviser and South Korea Country Manager, reports on developments from the meeting and the status of this vital low-carbon technology in South Korea.

Korea Global CCS Symposium 2015: redefining deployment priorities and developing collaborative partnerships

South Korea continues to support the deployment of CCS and in recent years the country has made significant investments into the research and development of a variety of CO2 capture technologies, applications and industries. As a result of this investment South Korea now has two large-scale CCS projects in the pipeline. In order for these two large-scale projects to move forward it is important that efforts continue to be made to deepen the understanding of South Korea’s onshore and offshore CO2 storage potential, and to ensure appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks are in place.

Shifting the emphasis from research and development towards addressing these challenges was the focus of the Korea CCS Association’s (KCCSA) 2015 Global CCS Symposium in Gwang-gu, South Korea 13 – 14 October 2015. The event was sponsored by the Global CCS Institute and incorporated an Institute Members' Meeting in the agenda.

South Korea ready to focus on deployment

In his opening remarks for the Symposium, Park Sung Chul, Chairman of the KCCSA, set the tone of the event, noting it was “..time for Korea to move onto the next stage, from research to dissemination.” He further observed that South Korea was at a turning point where the significant gains made in CO2 capture technologies needed to be applied to large-scale demonstration project deployment.

Emerging over the course of the Symposium was the consensus that progress must be made in identifying appropriate CO2 storage sites, educating the public about climate change and energy as well as developing relevant policy, laws and regulations to facilitate project development. Collaboration and discussion between Korean organisations was also highlighted as a milestone achievement crucial for moving forward.

Through the Korean CCS Master Action Plan the Government has confirmed its commitment to CCS by allocating substantial resources (over US $430 million) towards advancing the deployment of CCS projects in South Korea. To date the majority of funding has been put toward research into CO2 capture technologies, however investments are beginning to be made in developing CO2 monitoring and measurement expertise. The Korea CO2 Storage Environmental Management Research Centre (K-COSEM) will shortly commence a pilot scale CO2 shallow injection project examining the impacts of CO2 on groundwater and soil with the aim of building skills and developing appropriate monitoring tools. The findings of this activity will help inform some of the other responsibilities K-COSEM have been tasked with, including developing public engagement materials and contributing to the development of a legal and regulatory framework. This is a positive step forward for CCS development in South Korea.

International experience

Throughout the Symposium a number of short and medium term goals for CCS in Korea were identified and this provided a useful platform for progress. It was emphasised that the Korean context for CCS is not dissimilar to a number of other countries that have CCS projects in the pipeline and therefore, South Korea is in a strong position to draw on these experiences and apply them appropriately.

For example, it is unlikely that there are sufficient Enhanced Oil Recovery opportunities in Korea to drive CCS project development. Therefore policy makers are looking to applicable examples from other jurisdictions to support deployment. The United Kingdom’s recent policy advancements have facilitated the progress of a number of CCS projects. The knowledge and lessons that have emerged from this experience will likely prove useful within Korea.

There are also opportunities for international collaborations in the field of CO2 storage. At this point in time, the Ulleung Basin, which contains deep saline formations and is located off the South East coast of Korea is being studied as a potential site for CO2 storage. There is a wealth of international CCS project expertise that could be drawn upon to inform further site characterisation as well as potential injection and monitoring activities.

All of these examples are clear opportunities for collaboration between South Korea and international CCS stakeholders. The symposium agenda was targeted in identifying the current barriers that are affecting CCS deployment in South Korea. What remains to be seen is how the Korean CCS community will utilise its internal expertise, the experience of the international community and the significant resources that are available to move further toward the operation of a large-scale CCS project in Korea.

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