| SEOUL, April 3
SEOUL, April 3 Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO)
said it will begin talks next year with the United
Arab Emirates on a new deal for four nuclear power plants, and
plans to spend 800 billion won ($706.06 million) this year on
overseas resources development including acquisitions.
President and Chief Executive Kim Joong-kyum told reporters
late on Monday that the state-run utility would start
construction on four nuclear power plants in the UAE on July 1,
advancing the start date by four months, pending regulatory
approval by June 30, with completion scheduled for 2017-2020.
KEPCO would also begin exclusive talks with the UAE next
year on a deal to build four additional nuclear plants to be
completed by 2021, he said, aiming to conclude negotiations by
the end of next year.
"As far as I know, the UAE has not held talks with other
countries," Kim said, referring to the potential deal for four
additional reactors. "Our efficiency will increase as we build
the first four. We will achieve cost competitiveness if the same
type of reactor is chosen ... we can shorten construction time,
meaning earlier returns on investment."
"KEPCO has also been in talks with India, Kazakhstan, South
Africa, Turkey and Vietnam over possible reactor exports,
although any deals are unlikely to be signed this year," he
Oil-exporting UAE awarded the contract for the first four to
a consortium of Korean companies led by KEPCO in December 2009.
At that time, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) said the KEPCO
team would design, build and help operate four 1,400-megawatt
nuclear power units, and put the value of the contract for
construction, commissioning and fuel loads at about $20 billion.
ENEC said last month that it hoped to start construction on
the first plant in the fourth quarter, if regulatory approval
was received by the third quarter.
"We are looking into three to four deal candidates,
including mines and companies," Kim said regarding the company's
overseas investment plans this year, adding that KEPCO was
eyeing steaming coal and uranium assets in the United States and
South Africa to diversify procurement after almost zero
investment last year.
To ensure stable coal and uranium procurement, he said KEPCO
aimed to set up its first resources procurement and trading
joint venture with Germany's RWE AG this year in
either Singapore or South Korea, after selecting RWE as
preferred bidder last December.
KEPCO fully owns five thermal coal power generating
utilities in South Korea, the world's No.3 coal buyer - Korea
East West Power Co, Korea Southern Power Co, Korea South-East
Power Co Ltd, Korea Western Power Co Ltd
and Korea Midland Power Co.
It also has stakes in Indonesian and Australian coal mines
and companies, and uranium mines and companies in Canada, Niger
and the United States, according to company data.
South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, is heavily
dependent on energy imports. It has been seeking ways to
increase stable commodities and energy procurement as global
prices soar. It imports almost all feedstocks for power
($1 = 1133.0500 Korean won)
(Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Chris Lewis)