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South Korea Energy Information

2019 South Korea Key Figures

Population: 51.8 million
GDP growth rate: 2.03 %/year
Energy independence: 21.5%

* at purchasing power parity
Total consumption/GDP:* 87.1 (2015=100)
CO2 Emissions: 12.2 tCO2/capita
Rate of T&D power losses: 3.37%

South Korea Related News

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South Korea Related Research

Total Energy Consumption

Total energy consumption has remained steady since 2016 (294 Mtoe in 2019), after a period of regular growth (2.7%/year over 2000-2016).

Oil covers 37% of the energy needs, coal 26%, gas 16%, primary electricity 14% (of which nuclear 13%, hydro and solar 1%), and biomass 7%. This mix is similar to that in 2010, although coal was slightly higher (29%) and biomass lower (4%).

Graph: CONSUMPTION TRENDS BY ENERGY SOURCE (Mtoe)

Interactive Chart South Korea Total Energy Consumption

More research: South Korea energy report

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 2019, net oil product exports stood at around 27 Mt and net crude oil imports were 146 Mt.

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 end of 2019).

Interactive Chart South Korea Crude Oil Production

More research: Asia Refineries Dataset

Oil Products Consumption

Oil consumption has been declining slightly since 2017 (105 Mt in 2019). It had increased strongly over 2014-2017 (5.3%/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 (2019, %)

Interactive Chart South Korea Refined Oil Products Production

More research: Asia Refineries Dataset

Natural Gas Consumption

Gas demand has been fluctuating in recent years. It contracted in 2014 and 2015 due to some nuclear restarts, recovered over 2015-2018, and declined in 2019 to 52 bcm. It increased rapidly over 2000-2013 (8.2%/year).

In 2019, 46% of the natural gas was used in power plants, 28% in buildings, and 15% in the industrial sector. Since 2000, buildings have lost 19% points, mainly in favour of power plants (+12% points).

Graph: NATURAL GAS CONSUMPTION (bcm)

Interactive Chart South Korea Natural Gas Domestic Consumption

More research: Asia LNG Trade Dataset

Coal Consumption

Coal consumption decreased to 131 Mt in 2019, after significant growth over 2000-2010, from 72 Mt to 120 Mt, and a more moderate increase over 2010-2018 (1%/year).

Power plants accounted for 72% of coal consumption in 2019 and industry for 22%.

Graph: COAL CONSUMPTION (Mt)

Graph: COAL CONSUMPTION BREAKDOWN BY SECTOR (2019, %)

Interactive Chart South Korea Coal and Lignite Domestic Consumption

Power Consumption

Electricity consumption decreased to 538 TWh in 2019, after steady growth of over 4%/year between 2000 and 2018.

Industry absorbs half of the electricity consumption, services 30% and households 13%. The distribution was similar in 2005.

Graph: ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION (TWh)

Graph: ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BREAKDOWN BY SECTOR (2019, %)

Renewable in % Electricity Production

KEA supports and promotes renewable energies.

In May 2020, MOTIE unveiled the draft 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% by 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)

CO2 Fuel Combustion/CO2 Emissions

In October 2020, South Korea committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. That announcement followed those of other measures, such as a proposal calling for ending financing coal-fired power plants overseas and introducing a carbon tax in April, and the increase of the renewables target in May.

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