In March, SK Innovation, a South Korean oil refining company, signed an agreement to buy Longfellow Energy, LP — a US privately owned oil and gas exploration and production company. SK Innovation became the first South Korean company to launch an oil and gas business in the United States in 1983, and plans to expand its shale oil development in Oklahoma. The company plans to invest up to $453 million for acquisition and other business fields including drilling. SK’s exploration and production in the United States became the first Korean company to acquire operating rights in the United States in 2014 when it acquired oil fields in Oklahoma and Texas. Additionally, SK Group signed a MOU with General Electric and Continental Resources to form a strategic alliance for a shale gas project in the United States in 2017.
Through SK Innovation's management philosophy of "growing together with the local community,” it has done much to benefit US communities. The company donated $50,000 to Rice University in Houston, Texas to support the school’s Korean programs in its Center for Languages & Intercultural Communication. The donation was allocated to scholarships for study-abroad programs and Korean cultural programs at the University. Recently, The company’s employees volunteered at the Houston Food Bank for local residents in May and donated around $50,000 to the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance program in Oklahoma, which supports local teachers and students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Additionally, Korea cooperates with Texas in several programs that support vocational training and innovation. The South Korean government signed an agreement with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers in 2016, which provides South Korean engineers with opportunities to work in Texas and find new experiences abroad. The Samsung Austin R&D Center was also founded in 2010 and invested $4 billion in Texas to increase the production of electronic chips in 2012.
Yeseul Oh is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington D.C. and an Asan Wahshington Young fellow with the Asan Academy in Seoul. She is a student of Kyunghee university in South Korea