한국의 정부와 기업들은 그동안 중앙아시아 자원에너지 부문에 진출하기 위해 노력해 왔으나, 러시아, 중국, 미국, 일본, 유럽 등의 국가들이 달성한 성과에 비해서는 미흡한 결과를 거두었다고 할 수 있다. 그러나 이 국가들이 오랫동안 이 지역 진출을 위해 노력해온 것을 고려할 때, 한국 정부와 기업이 실질적인 관심을 갖고 진출을 시도한 것은 최근 몇 년에불과하므로, 향후 장기적인 차원에서 진출을 계획하고 실행에 옮긴다면 전망은 어둡지 않을 것이다. 앞으로의 투자를 위해서는 중앙아시아 지역의 자원에너지 현황과 각국의 에너지전략, 투자 관련법과 세제 등을 면밀히 조사하고 분석하여야 할 것이다. 또한 국제 에너지자원 수송망의 계획과 건설을 비롯한 주변 국가들과의 협력사업도 파악할 필요가 있다.
Korea imports most of its energy resources from the Middle East. In particular, the region supplies Korea with 80 percent of its oil. Yet, this region is unstable due to various political, territorial, and religious issues. Under these circumstances, the Korean government perceives the need to diversify its sources of energy resources and is attempting to secure these resources in regions such as Central Asia, Russia, Latin America, and Africa. The Central Asian region contains abundant natural resources. In particular, four countries in the region; namely, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan possess large amount of oil and gas. The Korean government and corporations have sought to secure these resources. But these efforts were not so successful compared with those by other countries such as Russia, China, the United States, and Europe. This does not necessarily mean that prospects for Korea are bleak. The country only recently began to invest in Central Asia's oil and gas industry. Therefore, if Seoul conceives an appropriate long-term strategy followed by consistent implementation, there is much likelihood of success in this region. To improve this chance, Korea needs to fully understand Central Asia's present conditions such as its energy resources, its transportation routes, tax systems, and investment environments. This report suggests several policy guidelines for improving Korea's chances of success in the Central Asia region. First, Korea needs to promote political ties with Central Asian countries. To do this, the Korean government must not only employ summit diplomacy, but also maintain regular contacts with officials and opinion leaders from those countries. These contacts should include people in diverse spheres such as energy, academia, and art. Second, the Korean government and corporations need to find out in detail what Central Asian countries want. The Central Asia republics are attempting to draw benchmarks from the Korean developmental model and hope to improve technology in the various industries. Recently, the Korean government began to extend invitations for programs for Central Asian officials and scholars, with the intention of improving their understanding of various Korean development policies. These programs should be greatly expanded. Third, Korea should make good use of opportunities in the area of Central Asian countries' construction and plant (building) industry, as those countries are attempting to develop downstream industry; for example, building oil refineries. In the case of gas-abundant Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, they want to build petrochemical plants. These represent excellent opportunities for Korean corporations to participate in this region's downstream industry. Fourth, Korea needs to develop a separate strategy for each energy-abundant Central Asian country (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan). The geopolitical situations in the Central Asia region is changing rapidly. While Russia's influence is diminishing, China's influence is increasing and each Central Asian country is becoming more assertive in its foreign policy. Korea should fully understand these developments and take a different approach for each Central Asian country. Fifth, Korea should consider entrance to Central Asian countries' oil and gas industry in collaboration with other states. For example, Korea can participate together with Azerbaijan in other Central Asian countries' energy industry. Moreover, Korea can penetrate this industry in partnership with Russian or Chinese national oil companies. Sixth, Korea should systematically manage information regarding Central Asia. Information collected by various organizations including the government, corporations, and research institutes should be shared and exchanged. In particular, stories of Korean corporations' success or failure in Central Asian countries' oil and gas industry should be disseminated. This is likely to minimize risk associated with investing in those countries.