Republic of Korea Country Report
The Republic of Korea is located in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula and has a 238 kilometre boundary with North Korea. It occupies 98,480 square kilometres and includes about 3000, mostly small, uninhabited islands. Korea is a mountainous country with lowlands accounting for only 30 percent of the total land area. The climate is temperate, with heavy rainfall in summer. Korea has a population of 49 million, about 85 percent of which live in urban areas. Korea has experienced tremendous economic growth over the past few decades. After impressive growth, gross domestic product (GDP) plunged by 7 percent in 1998, but has since rebounded. The economy is dominated by manufacturing, particularly electronic products, passenger vehicles and petrochemicals. Agriculture, forestry and fishing made up 3 percent of total GDP in 2010. Korea has no domestic oil resources and only a very small amount of natural gas has been produced locally. It has indigenous anthracite coal resources, but imports most of its coal, which is bituminous coal. As a result Korea is an energy importer - it is the world’s second largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Although total primary energy consumption is dominated by oil and coal, nuclear power and LNG also supply a significant share of the country’s primary energy. Total primary energy consumption increased by 4.8 percent a year between 1990 and 2009. The strongest growth occurred in natural gas (13.8 percent) and nuclear (5.6 percent). Oil use increased at a relatively slower 3.2 percent a year. Total final energy consumption (TFEC) in 2009 was 147.8 Mtoe, increasing at an average annual rate of 4.4 percent from 1990. The industry sector accounted for 27 percent of final energy consumption in 2009, followed by others (28 per cent) and transportation (20 percent). Consumption of natural gas in the industry sector has grown eight-fold in the last decade and oil accounts for a relatively large share of industry consumption. In 2009, generators in Korea produced 451.6TWh of electricity, with coal and nuclear combined providing more than three-quarters of Korea’s electricity. Natural gas accounted for 15.6 percent of generation in 2009. Total electricity consumption grew at an average annual rate of 8 percent over the period 1990-2009. When broken down by fuel, coal, natural gas and nuclear have grown by an average annual rate of 13.9 percent, 11.0 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively over the period 1990-2009.
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