Call for Power Collaboration With South Korea

Call for Power Collaboration With South KoreaCall for Power Collaboration With South Korea

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said South Korea can play an active role not only in Iran's smart power grid development project, but also in power plant construction plans.

Chitchian made the statement after meeting Joo Hyung-hwan, South Korea's minister of trade, industry and energy, in Tehran on Monday.

"More than 10 million subscribers will be covered by the smart electricity network during the next five years and Iran is willing to implement the mega project in cooperation with Korean companies, which enjoy state-of-the-art knowhow," Chitchian was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

According to the energy minister, plans have been made to develop smart infrastructures in the electricity sector so that power transmission lines can also be utilized to transfer data to subscribers.

The smart grid represents an opportunity to move the energy industry into a new era of reliability, availability and efficiency that will contribute to the country's economic and environmental betterment.

Stressing that raising power transfer capacity from 400 kilovolts to 765 kV tops the ministry's priority list, he said, "The contract to build 400 transmission substations and facilitate technology transfer to build GIS posts will be put out to international tender and Korean enterprises will be welcomed to participate in them."

GIS or geographic information system is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present all types of spatial or geographical data used in technologies, processes and methods.

Pointing to the country's ever-growing power consumption, Chitchian said Iran's long-term plan to increase its electricity production capacity from the current 74,000 megawatts to 120,000 MW cannot be realized unless new power plants go on stream.

"Renovating and increasing power plants' efficiency are high on the ministry's agenda to be undertaken with the help of Koreans," he said.

Asked about joint ventures in water sector, he added that water distribution network management plan is being implemented in Bushehr and Shiraz in southern Iran.

"Koreans can play a major role in other projects, including seawater desalination, water and wastewater plant construction, renewable power plant development projects and hydroelectric plans," he said.

According to the energy minister, Tehran has called for Seoul's close collaboration in technology transfer and providing financial resources in power sector projects.

Park Geun-hye, South Korean president, is expected to visit Tehran in May 2016, following which the contracts will be finalized.

Holding talks with South Korea's electricity giant Electric Power Corporation's CEO Cho Hwan-eik, Arash Kordi, managing director of Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company 9aka Tavanir), had already called for defining a clear roadmap for mutual electricity cooperation with KEPCO to further reduce power wastage with the help of the South Korean enterprise that enjoys state-of-the-art knowhow in this regard.

Underscoring the fact that thermal power plants' efficiency in Iran stands at a maximum 33% compared to that of the global average of 60%, the official said KEPCO can also help Tavanir increase the efficiency of power plants.

  Oil Trade

Speaking at a business forum attended by economic players of the two countries in Tehran on Monday, attended by more than 250 delegates from 100 South Korean companies, Joo noted that his country is also interested in joint investment in oil and gas industries.  

"Korean officials have promised to increase crude oil and gas condensates' imports from Iran to exceed the pre-sanctions levels and increase their intake in 2016," Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.  "Iran sees South Korea as an important Asian partner and a reliable customer for oil and liquefied natural gas."

Customs data show South Korea's imports of Iranian crude tripled in January from a year earlier, although shipments remain far below pre-sanctions levels. In a report contradictory to figures provided by Zanganeh, Reuters said South Korea's January imports of Iranian crude more than tripled versus a year ago to about 209,000 bpd, the most since February 2014.

The combined imports of South Korean refiners in 2011 reached 87.18 million barrels worth $9.2 billion, but tumbled to 44.92 million barrels worth $4.5 billion in 2014.