Regulatory Frameworks for South Korea’s Offshore Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Activities

Roy Partain* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article provides a comparative review of existing Korean regulations against model regulatory frameworks for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects within South Korean waters. Its analysis will demonstrate that South Korea’s existing environmental laws and existing international conventions to regulate offshore CCS activities can be used to draft a robust stand-alone legal framework appropriate for offshore CCS storage projects in South Korean waters.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology that could enable nations that emit greenhouse gases from their industrial activities to capture the emission before they reach the atmosphere and to place those greenhouse gases into deep geological storage. CCS re-purposes a pre-existing technology which injected carbon dioxide (CO2) into geological formations to enhance the production of crude oil from older fields; in those operations, it was discovered that most of the injected CO2 never returned to the surface, suggesting the potential to store CO2 in that manner. While some green scholars and activists oppose its implementation, many have seen CCS as a potential bridging technology to enable earlier reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining industrial output levels, until greener technological alternatives are mainstays of industrial economies. These carbon storage activities could be undertaken both onshore and offshore of the industrial economies.

Because Korea has few suitable onshore storage locations for carbon storage, it will need to plan for offshore CCS operations. Legally, this could be fortuitous, as it would reduce the complexity of overlapping national and local administration issues and further could take inspiration from pre-existing international conventions on offshore CCS activities, such as under the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (“London Protocol”), the EU’s Directive on the Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide (“the CCS Directive”), OSPAR Decision 2007/2 for the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (“OSPAR Convention”), and the Decision 10/CMP.7 of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This article evaluates these conventions comparatively with a variety of South Korean environmental enactments to find that if South Korea brought together its laws with key elements from those conventions, then South Korea could create and enact a leading model for offshore CCS storage projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-115
Number of pages54
JournalKyungpook National University Law Journal ( 경북대학교 법학연구원 법학논고)
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020


  • Carbon capture and storage
  • carbon dioxide
  • hydrate
  • offshore
  • South Korea
  • climate change
  • greenhouse gas


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