Korea Southern Said to Seek Stake in U.K. Carbon Project

Korea Southern Power Co., a unit of the nation’s monopoly power distributor, is in talks to buy a stake in a British carbon-capture project that may cost 5 billion pounds ($8 billion) to develop, people familiar with the discussions said.

The level of Korean equity ownership in the project owned by 2Co Energy Ltd. would be determined after 2Co determines how much funding it can obtain from European investors, said the people who asked not to be named because the discussions are confidential. One of the officials said funding results would be available no later than early November.

2Co Energy Chief Executive Officer Lewis Gillies said on Oct. 24 that the company is selling a stake in its Don Valley CCS project in northern England to a South Korean utility, adding a second investor from the East Asian country after bringing in Samsung C&T Corp. in March.

The project will trap 90 percent of emissions from a new coal-fired power plant in south Yorkshire and store them about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) under the North Sea. The CO2 streams also will help push crude out of aging oilfields.

2Co Energy already won 180 million euros from the European Energy Program for Recovery and is first in a ranking of likely winners for funds in the European Commission’s NER300 program. That funding award is due by the end of this year. The company also entered a 1 billion-pound CCS financing competition in Britain, with results yet to be announced.

Jane Paxman, a spokeswoman at London-based 2Co Energy, declined to comment by phone. Spokesmen at Seoul-based Korea Southern Power declined to comment.

Asian Funding

Developers of CCS projects are looking to investors in Asia to fund the technology, which is yet to operate on a commercial scale at power plants. The Export-Import Bank of China agreed in September to finance about half of a Summit Power Group LLC carbon-capture project in Texas. Korea is interested in developing its own expertise in CCS to reduce its fossil fuel emissions.

2Co Energy, backed by Texan private equity firm TPG Capital, agreed to sell a 15 percent stake in the Don Valley venture to a Samsung subsidiary in March, and in June sold a further 15 percent to Linde AG’s U.K. unit.

The Don Valley project envisions a 3-billion pounds onshore facility and another 1 billion invested offshore. Further costs will cover infrastructure such as a 400-kilometer pipeline.

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