SK starts generating electricity from U.S. shale
SK E&S, the energy subsidiary of SK Group, began generating electricity from shale gas imported from the United States at its factory in Paju, Gyeonggi.
The company was the first in Korea to bring in natural gas extracted from shale formations in the United States. The first batch, totaling 66,000 tons, came from the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Louisiana last month. The move is in line with Donald Trump’s efforts to boost American oil and gas drilling and coal mining.
Unlike other natural gas plants in Korea, which usually receive fuel sources from the state-run Korea Gas Corporation, SK’s Paju plant procures resources on its own to cut costs and offer electricity to households for less. Using natural gas for power generation is also considered eco-friendly in comparison to coal.
“Our Paju natural gas plant is the first of its kind in Korea,” said Yoo Jeong-joon, CEO of SK E&S. “We will contribute to stabilizing supply and demand for energy in the country by directly bringing in cheap and clean fuel and providing quality electricity.”
The Paju natural gas-fired power plant consists of two generators each capable of churning out 900 megawatts, the biggest capacity for a single unit in Korea. It was built in October 2014. The combined 1,800 megawatts can power 600,000 households at once and is equivalent to 2 percent of the total capacity of Korea at around 100 gigawatts.
Combined with the 1,126-megawatt capacity from a natural gas plant in Gwangyang, South Jeolla, SK E&S can now produce a total of 3,000 megawatts.
The company plans to use more natural gas for power production. It will import 800,000 tons of natural gas annually for the next five years through its Gorgon gas project in western Australia. The project refers to the development of the Greater Gorgon gas fields and subsea gas-gathering infrastructure and is one of the largest liquefied natural gas projects in the world.
Starting in 2019, the SK subsidiary will take in 2.2 million tons of shale gas from the Freefort LNG Export Terminal near the Gulf of Mexico on a 20-year contract.