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South Korea Investing in Kazakhstan Energy Projects


South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is currently visiting Kazakhstan. In one result of Lee’s visit, South Korea and Kazakhstan have signed agreements for two $4 billion projects to build a thermal power plant and a petrochemical complex in the Central Asian nation.

Under the terms of an inter-government agreement signed during President Lee's state visit, South Korea is guaranteed 70 percent stake in a $4 billion project to build a coal-fired power plant in the southern city of Balkhash, the United Arab Emirates Wakalat Anba’a al-Emarat news agency reported.

South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) and Samsung C&T currently hold a 35 percent stake each in a project to build a 1, 320-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Balkhash that when online, is expected to generate about 7 percent of Kazakhstan's electricity needs.

Further west, South Korea's LG Chemical and Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries (KPI) signed a contract to establish a joint venture to develop a $4 billion project to build a petrochemical complex in Atyrau on the northern banks of the Caspian.

Despite the global financial crisis bilateral South Korean-Kazakh trade in 2010 grew by 50.3 percent to $760.1 million. Kazakhstan and South Korea intend to bring up the trade turnover to the pre-crisis level of $900 million per annum. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told a joint press conference with President Lee in the Kazakh capital Astana, “We hope to reach the pre-crisis level as early as this year.

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