South Korea and Saudi Arabia Agree to Widen Scope of Clean Hydrogen Cooperation

South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said a number of energy institutions, companies, and MOTIE entered into two agreements and five memorandums of understanding (MoU) with their Saudi Arabian counterparts on expanding mutual cooperation in the development of clean hydrogen.

MOTIE’s Minister Bang Moon Kyu and Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman signed the “Korea-Saudi Hydrogen Oasis Cooperation Initiative” MoU on behalf of the two countries’ governments for clean hydrogen cooperation.

As a nation rich in conventional energy resources, Saudi Arabia is also increasing investments in clean hydrogen industries for future energy development and carbon neutrality.

South Korea and Saudi Arabia have been paving the way for a cooperation roadmap spanning the entire hydrogen ecosystem from production to distribution and utilisation based on their respective strengths, and it is on these public-private joint efforts that this cooperation initiative was sealed.

In line with this initiative, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), POSCO Holdings, and Lotte Chem among other Korean firms agreed on a letter of intent (LoI) for cooperation in a blue ammonia project valued at US$15.5 billion in the Ras Al-Khair region with Saudi’s Aramco. HD Hyundai Oilbank and Aramco also entered a “Clean Hydrogen Energy Project Cooperation MOU”, while KEPCO and Saudi’s Al Jomaih Energy and Water Co. signed a hydrogen project deal.

Meanwhile, Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) signed a crude oil reserve agreement with Aramco, by which Aramco will be storing crude oil in the Ulsan Oil Hub, and South Korea will be able to exercise a preferential purchase right to 5.3 million barrels of Aramco’s crude oil for supply emergencies.

HD Hyundai Electric and Saudi investment firm AlGihaz entered an MoU on substation bid cooperation, and South Korea’s power boiler and heat exchanger manufacturing company BHI and Saudi’s Rezayat Group entered one on power plant equipment and materials supply.

The South Korean government said it plans to give full measure to transitioning the South Korea-Saudi relations from traditional energy sources to a forward-looking, clean hydrogen cooperation based on the outcomes of the economic summit diplomacy.