HOUSTON – While the Offshore Technology Conference was under way at Reliant Center on Monday, a number of organizations joined forces at a forum in the Westin Galleria Hotel to discuss investment opportunities in Korea.
According to Vice Minister Sang-Jick Yoon of Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the convergence of the world’s oil and gas industry in Houston for OTC created favorable conditions for promoting Korean industry. “OTC is one of the major conferences in the offshore industry,” Yoon said, explaining that part of the value in attending the conference is the opportunity to understand the trends of the industry and the global oil and gas market.
For Korea, putting this knowledge to work will allow the country to expand its technical capabilities appropriately to meet industry needs and to strengthen the relationships it has built over the years with international oil companies.
Yoon pointed to local competencies such as the country’s position as the world’s number one shipbuilder – securing more than half of the global orders in 1Q 2012 – as evidence of Korea’s stature in the industry and its value as a partner.
According to Yoon, Korea is interesting in attracting investment and is enthusiastic about working with foreign investors, particularly those based in Houston. “The offshore industry is growing by leaps and bounds,” he said, and the opportunities for cooperation are extensive.
Korean Consul General Suk-Bum Park places the goal of strengthening ties with the US at the top of his list of priorities. “Five years ago,” Park said, “the role of Houston emerged in the Republic of Korea.” Since that time, the Korean government has focused on expanding its partnerships with Houston companies, offering tax breaks and reduced tariffs assessed on goods imported by foreign investors as incentives.
One company that is investing in Korea’s future is ABS. Dr. Hoseong Daniel Lee, ABS Vice President, Global Korean Business Development, told forum attendees about his company’s Korea Energy Technology Center (KETC), which opened at the beginning of 2012. Projects already under way include several addressing offshore E&P, subsea equipment and control systems, Integrated Software Quality Management (ISQM), LNG/FLNG, and renewable energy projects focusing on wind.
As an example of the work being done at KETC, Lee provided the outline of a recently held four-day seminar on subsea technology, where 200 participants gathered to discuss subsea issues, including field architecture, subsea structures and control systems, drilling systems, subsea surveys, control umbilicals, installation and flow assurance.
Creating an energy center in Korea is part of a bigger technology outreach, Lee explained, noting that the ABS KETC is an integral component in the company’s global technology R&D organization, which includes offshore technology centers in Canada, Singapore, Brazil and China, all of which are supported by the world headquarters in Houston.