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Springtime for overseas power plants

May 04,2018
Casey Choi
*Chairman of the Korea Plant Industries Association

Last year, Korean companies received $26.7 billion worth of overseas power plant orders. After the $20.9 billion recorded in 2016, the record low for the decade, the performance is improving and showing positive signs. However, it is still far from the $60 billion in overseas orders that was achieved amid fierce competition with global companies from 2010 to 2015.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the comprehensive showcase of Korea’s overseas construction projects. In the past 10 years, Korean companies got total plant orders of $55 billion, including the Barakah nuclear power plant. So far, Korean companies have been involved in nearly all plant areas, power generation, refinery, petrochemical and fresh water, and the accomplishments in the UAE are the fruit of our new technologies and broad experience.

Unlike the past, the global plant market is entering a new stage. Oil prices are rising again, but they are unpredictable. In addition to competition with European and American global companies, Chinese and Indian companies are also catching up. Productivity innovation will also accelerate as technologies of the fourth industrial revolution such as AI, IoT and drones are put into use.

In the rapidly changing ecosystem, companies are struggling to keep up only with individual capacities and know-how, and cooperation with the government is becoming a necessity. The goals set during President Moon Jae-in’s visits to Vietnam and the UAE can be accomplished when the government, public agencies and companies work together. Then, we’ll soon see results, and more contract orders will be received. I hope to see another spring for the overseas plant industry.