Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) said on April 9 that it has secured a mining right for the 8 mining area located in deep-sea area of the East Sea and the northern part of the 6-1 mining area from Australia's largest oil developer, Woodside, and the government.
The two mines will be located in the deep-sea region of 12,560 square kilometers, about 20 times the size of Seoul, and 700-2,000 meters deep. The two companies conducted their first exploration project in 2007, drilling for two exploration wells.
Although gas was found in one of the wells, it failed to reach the stage of development due to lack of economic feasibility.
However, it recently confirmed the existence of the same type of deep-sea turbidite as seen in large oil and gas fields found in deep seas around the world.
Woodside believes that there is a good chance that it will find a large-scale gas field in the mining area, and hoped to resume the exploration project. KNOC also agreed with it, allowing both companies to secure the mining right with a 50 percent stake each.
KNOC and Woodside will conduct full-scale exploration of the mining area, including three-dimensional artificial seismic exploration and drilling for exploration wells, for up to 10 years from April.
"With the resumption of the exploration project, it has high possibility of finding a new gas field, following the East Sea-1 gas field that enabled Korea to join the ranks of oil-producing countries," said a KNOC official.