By Sonali Paul
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Santos Ltd urged South Korea on Thursday to invest in Australian gas combined with carbon capture and storage to help meet South Korea's needs until 2050.
Australia supplies about one-third of South Korea's LNG imports. Its imports are expected to peak in 2039 at just over 48 million tonnes a year and then ease to about 42 million tonnes by 2050, Santos Chief Executive Kevin Gallagher said at an energy security conference in Seoul.
"This is a great opportunity for trade and investment in Australian LNG, to deliver energy security and cleaner energy for Korea for another three decades," he told the conference hosted by South Korea's government, according to a copy of the speech issued by his company.
Santos is looking to sell low-carbon LNG from its Barossa gas project by extracting carbon dioxide from the gas and storing it in the depleted Bayu-Undan gas field off East Timor.
The proposed carbon capture and storage (CCS) project is expected to cost more than $1 billion, Gallagher and East Timor have said.
Gallagher said CCS would be essential in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 while fossil fuels are still needed.
"Carbon capture and storage will enable us to reduce emissions from the production of natural gas and LNG, but more importantly, it provides the opportunity to help our customers reduce or offset emissions from consumption," he said.
Santos' partners in Barossa include private South Korean firm SK E&S.
Gallagher's comments came about a week after a South Korean court dismissed a case in which two Indigenous Australian groups sought to block South Korea's export credit agencies from providing loans for a pipeline for the $3.6 billion Barossa project Santos is developing off north Australia.
Other attendees at the South Korean energy security conference included executives from Nigeria LNG, Indonesia's state petroleum company Pertamina and officials from the Australian, French and U.S. embassies.
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Robert Birsel)