Subject: S.Korean energy developer to explore gas field in Timor-Leste

S.Korean energy developer to explore gas field in Timor-Leste

SEOUL, Oct 26, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- South Korea's state-run energy developer said Thursday that it will search for gas at the East Timor-Australia joint petroleum development area starting next month, South Korea news agency Yonhap reported Thursday.

The Korea Gas Corp. (KOGAS) said it has a 30 percent stake in the prospective gas block, while LG International and Samsung Corp. each holds 10 percent. The remainder is owned by Petronas Carigali, the operator of the block located between Timor-Leste and Australia.

KOGAS said that once initial tests are completed next year, exploratory drilling will begin in the first half of 2008.

Development of any natural gas and condensate found is expected to begin in 2009. The exact size of the gas the block may contain has not been announced.

South Korea has been pushing to develop new overseas gas and oil fields to reduce the country's dependence on foreign energy supplies. South Korea produces only very small quantities of oil and gas, but wants to raise its self sufficiency levels past 10 percent in the coming years from 4 percent at present.

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