Korea has become the first country to make inroads into the United Arab Emirates' oil field development which has not been open to the international arena since the 1970s.
On the second day of his three-day visit to the Gulf state following the summit with his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Korean President Lee Myung-bak announced the largest-ever oil field development deal signed with the UAE over a live TV broadcast.
[Reporter : President Lee Myung-bak] "Korea is now able to make inroads into the 'region of dreams' that were only accessible to a limited number of major oil companies in the US, Britain, France and Japan."
Under the historic deal Korea will be granted the right to develop and secure at least 1 billion barrels of technically recoverable reserves from Abu Dhabi's oil field starting in 2014, potentially valued at about 110 trillion won or roughly 98 billion US dollars.
The two sides also inked a separate contract for the joint development of three undeveloped oil fields in the UAE's capital which contain about 570 million barrels.
President Lee stated that the agreements are expected to help Korea boost its energy self-sufficiency ratio for oil and gas amid uncertainties in the Middle East oil supply.
[Interview : President Lee Myung-bak ] "When I took office, the energy self-sufficiency ratio for oil and gas stood at a mere 4 percent. With the entry of our government, we have continuously made efforts to raise the ratio, and if you add up the oil reserves we secured today, the figure goes to 15 percent."
Seoul's Presidential Office said the exact value and details of the contracts will be determined through follow-up negotiations set to start in 2012.
[Reporter : Yoo Ji-hae
email@example.com] "On Monday President Lee is expected to participate in a ground-breaking ceremony for the UAE's first nuclear plant in Braka some 300 kilometers west of Abu Dhabi and receive the Zayed International Prize for the Environment for his global leadership in promoting green growth initiatives.
Yoo Ji-hae, Arirang News, Abu Dhabi."