South Korea Subsidies

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South Korea–$667 million in 2013-2014 counting domestic subsidies and subsidies for overseas oil and gas exploration

According to a report, “G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production: Republic of Korea”, that was published in 2015, South Korea’s subsidies for fossil fuels can be summarized as follows:

As the table above shows, the majority of South Korea’s subsidies have been used for supporting coal production, and the largest subsidy went to the production of coal briquettes. This is related to South Korea’s energy market structure. In South Korea, major energy industries are still publicly owned. For example, Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) is responsible for exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas within and outside of the country as well as strategic reserves. Likewise, the coal industry is also largely dependent on state ownership. Three out of eight major domestic anthracite mines are run by Korea Coal Corporation (KCC), which is state-owned.

South Korea has the highest level of support for overseas coal power plant projects through export credit agencies among OECD countries. Also, Korea ranked first in terms of the size of the export credit institutions that were supported by foreign export credit institutions in the overseas coal-fired power plant projects that were done by Korea’s Exports Bank and Korea’s Trade Insurance Corporation. Their total support amounted to $4.345 billion from 2003 to 2013. Japan ranked second with $ 3.27 billion, and Germany third with $2 billion.

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Alex Doukas, “G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production: Republic of Korea” (Overseas Development Institute, 2015).


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