South Korea Energy Information
South Korea Key Figures
GDP growth rate: -1.0 %/year
Energy independence: 23.4%
Data of the last year available: 2020
CO2 Emissions: 11.4 tCO2/capita
Rate of T&D power losses: 3.42%
* at purchasing power parity
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South Korea Related News
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South Korea Related Research
Total Energy Consumption
Total energy consumption fell by 3.8% in 2020 to 283 Mtoe, after a period of stable consumption over 2016-2019.
Oil covers 35% of the energy needs, coal 25%, gas 17%, primary electricity 16% (of which nuclear 15%, hydro, wind and solar 1%), and biomass 7%. Since 2010, the share of coal has decreased by 4 points, while that of biomass has increased by 3 points.
Graph: CONSUMPTION TRENDS BY ENERGY SOURCE (Mtoe)
Graph: TOTAL CONSUMPTION MARKET SHARE BY ENERGY (2020, %)
Interactive Chart South Korea Total Energy Consumption
Crude Oil Production
Korea depends on imports to meet its entire oil demand. Thanks to the increase in its refining capacities, Korea has been a net exporter of oil products since 1997. In 2020, net oil product exports stood at around 22 Mt (-21%) and net crude oil imports were 133 Mt (-8.5%).
Korea depends on the Middle East for most of its crude oil imports, but aims for greater import supply diversification.
The refining capacity nearly quadrupled between 1990 and 2015 and has remained stable since then (3.0 mb/d mid-2021).
Interactive Chart South Korea Crude Oil Production
Oil Products Consumption
Oil consumption has declined by almost 8% since 2017 (103 Mt in 2020). It had increased strongly over 2014-2017 (5.4%/year), following relative stability over 2000-2014.
Because of significant consumption of oil for non-energy uses, industry represents over half of the oil demand, while transport accounts for one third.
Graph: OIL CONSUMPTION (Mt)
Graph: OIL CONSUMPTION BREAKDOWN BY SECTOR (2020, %)
Interactive Chart South Korea Refined Oil Products Production
Natural Gas Consumption
Gas demand has been fluctuating in recent years (52 bcm in 2020). It contracted in 2014 and 2015 due to some nuclear restarts and recovered over 2015-2018.
In 2020, 55% of the natural gas was used in power plants, 28% in buildings, and 15% in the industrial sector. Since 2010, buildings have lost 4% points, mainly in favour of power plants (+9% points).
Graph: NATURAL GAS CONSUMPTION (bcm)
Graph: GAS CONSUMPTION BREAKDOWN BY SECTOR (2020, %)
Interactive Chart South Korea Natural Gas Domestic Consumption
Coal consumption has decreased by 16% since 2018, of which 12% was in 2020 to 117 Mt. The consumption had increased by around 2%/year over 2010-2018.
Power plants accounted for 69% of coal consumption in 2020 and industry for 23%.
Graph: COAL CONSUMPTION (Mt)
Graph: COAL CONSUMPTION BREAKDOWN BY SECTOR (2020, %)
Interactive Chart South Korea Coal and Lignite Domestic Consumption
Electricity consumption decreased by 2.1% to 527 TWh in 2020. It was the second consecutive year of decline (-1.3% in 2019), after steady growth between 2010 and 2018 (2.2%/year). In 2021, it is expected to rise by around 5%, according to estimates on the seven first months.
Industry absorbs half of the electricity consumption, services 30% and households 13%. The distribution was similar in 2010.
Graph: ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION (TWh)
Renewable in % Electricity Production
KEA supports and promotes renewable energies.
In 2020, MOTIE unveiled the 9th Basic Plan for Long-Term Electricity Demand and Supply 2020-2034, in which it revised upwards its renewables target to 40% of the power mix in 2034 (against 30-35% in 2040 in the Third Energy Master Plan in 2019). MOTIE plans to add 49 GW of renewables by 2030, comprising 29 GW in large-scale projects and 20 GW from households, small businesses, and from rural projects.
Interactive Chart South Korea Share of Renewables in Electricity Production (incl hydro)
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CO2 Fuel Combustion/CO2 Emissions
The country aims to cut its total GHG emissions in 2030 by 40% compared to 2018 levels. Announced in October 2021, this target will be included in a new update of the NDC and erased the previous one stated at end 2020 (24.4% by 2030 from 2017 levels). At the end of 2020, the country also committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Other related measures were announced in 2020, such as a proposal call for ending the financing of coal-fired power plants overseas and introducing a carbon tax, as well as increasing the renewables target.
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