(Updates with 2011 planned spending in fourth paragraph.)
Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Korea National Oil Corp., a state energy developer, said it may spend as much as $4 billion next year on buying overseas oil assets to expand production.
“A similar amount of investment may be made in 2012 compared with this year,” Im Hong Geun, executive vice president for Asia, Middle East and Commonwealth Independence States at the Anyang, South Korea-based company, said in an interview today. The energy developer, known as KNOC, is currently discussing the budget with the government, Im said.
“We need to boost our daily output to 300,000 barrels a day,” from 215,000 barrels as of September, said Im, who was attending the Energy & Mineral Resources Development Symposium in Seoul.
South Korean energy companies have bid for at least $4.3 billion of overseas assets this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. KNOC said in February it plans to invest as much as $4 billion in overseas oilfields this year.
The South Korean company will seek stakes in oil projects in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia next year, according to Im.
“We may also participate in projects in deep-sea locations and remote areas,” he said. “We may approach these in the medium to long term. The cost of drilling an exploratory well in these areas may be $100 million to $150 million.”
Rising raw-material prices are spurring South Korea to boost investments in commodities ranging from oil and gas to copper, as it competes for supplies with China and India.
KNOC bought 95 percent of Kazakhstan’s Altius Holdings Inc. for $515 million in March and completed the purchase of Canadian oil and gas assets from Dallas-based Hunt Oil Co. for C$525 million ($515 million) in June.
The South Korean company said in March it also agreed to acquire a stake in a Texas shale-oil block from Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for $1.55 billion.
The energy developer expects its oil-sand and shale-gas assets in North America to start production in 2013, Im said.
--Editors: Ryan Woo, Paul Gordon.
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