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Korea, Turkmenistan forge stronger ties on gas fields, smart cities

June 11, 2024 - 16:11 By Kim Hae-yeon
Korea’s Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun (second from right) talks with Daewoo E&C Chairman Jung Won-ju (center right) and other business leaders at a business roundtable meeting held on the sidelines of the Korea-Turkmenistan summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Business leaders and government officials from South Korea and Turkmenistan pledged to further strengthen cooperation in infrastructure and digital development at a bilateral business forum held Tuesday in Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat.

The forum, hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and chaired by SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who doubles as chairman of the KCCI, in collaboration with the Turkmenistan Chamber of Commerce, was attended by more than 250 participants.

With President Yoon Suk Yeol in attendance, some 100 key business figures from Korea were present at the conference, including Park Il-joon, vice chairman of KCCI, Hong Hyeon-sung, CEO of Hyundai Engineering, Jung Won-ju, chairman of Daewoo Engineering & Construction, Chi Hyung-keun, executive vice president of Samsung C&T, and Lee Sung-yeoul, general manager of Doosan Enerbility. Government officials included Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun, Land Minister Park Sang-woo, Korea Eximbank Chairman Yoon Hee-Sung and Korea Plant Industries Association head Kim Chang-hak.

"Korea and Turkmenistan have been particularly strengthening cooperation in the energy sector," KCCI's vice chairman said. "I believe this forum will allow us to further expand cooperation into shipbuilding, digital and medical fields."

Park highlighted Turkmenistan's efforts to build smart cities as part of its government-led growth strategy, suggesting numerous opportunities for collaboration, while expressing strong hopes for joint projects leveraging Korea's strengths and Turkmenistan's growth potential.

On the Turkmenistan side, over 150 businesspersons and government officials attended, including People's Council Chair Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the current de facto leader, and Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Turkmenistan Mergen Gurdov.

Ashyrguly Begliyev, adviser to the president of Turkmenistan on oil and gas issues, discussed the status and future tasks of Korea-Turkmen economic cooperation. Additionally, the head of Turkmenistan's state-run chemical corporation presented past and potential trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

As the world's fourth-largest country in terms of oil and gas reserves, Turkmenistan has seen significant involvement from Korean companies in its plant projects.

Over the past 10 years, Korean companies have secured orders amounting to $4.99 billion, most among the five major Central Asian countries. The figure is more than 10 times the volume of trade and highlights the importance of Turkmenistan's market.

Notable projects by Korean companies include the development of the Galkynysh Gas Field's desulfurization facility in 2009, the largest plant project in Turkmenistan's history, the Turkmenbashi refinery in 2012 and the Kiyanly crude oil treatment plant in 2014. Most recently, Hyundai Engineering signed a framework agreement with Turkmenistan's state-run Turkmengas to construct the fourth desulfurization facility at the Galkynysh Gas Field.