Saudi energy minister 'optimistic' on South Korea being shortlisted for nuclear project

Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih speaks with the media during the International Energy Forum (IEF) in New Delhi, India, April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain

SEOUL (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Friday he was “optimistic” about South Korea being shortlisted to build nuclear power plants for the Middle Eastern kingdom.

Falih told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event in Seoul that South Korea could expect a “good result” when asked about outcome of bidding on the project, without going into details.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer, plans to build two nuclear plants to diversify its energy supply and has been in talks with companies from South Korea, the United States, Russia and China for the tender.

Should South Korea win the bid, it would be the country’s second nuclear exports deal. In 2009, a consortium led by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) clinched its first nuclear exports deal with the United Arab Emirates.

Falih met South Korean President Moon Jae-in and South Korean Energy Minister Paik Un-gyu to expand bilateral cooperation in energy and other sectors.

Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Tom Hogue/David Evans