June 29, 2022

South Korea has recently been under urea supply shortage, given to which the government has identified thousands of tons of urea held by local importers and plans to use them to produce urea water solutions.

Urea is the most important fluid that is used in diesel vehicles to cut emissions.

According to the government, a special inspection team on Monday began crackdowns on hoarding of urea or its solution in the country and found local importers to have held a combined 3,000 tons of urea.

The government from the 2,000 tons of hoarded urea will supply it for use in vehicles, while 700 tons will be sent to a local manufacturer to produce urea water solution this week.

It would be possible to make enough urea solution to last for about nine days with all of the available 2,000 tons.

South Korea, last year had imported around 80,000 tons of urea for diesel vehicles, just to produce a sufficient 660,000 liters of urea solution.

In recent weeks, the country has been facing a shortage of urea water solution, known as diesel exhaust fluid, and its surging prices. This was due to China imposing stricter measures on exports of fertilizers and related materials, in October amid a power crisis caused by a coal supply shortage.

Coal is the main feedstock for urea.

According to reports, South Korea is heavily reliant on China for its supply of urea water solution, as 97.6 percent of its imports in the first nine months of this year came from China.

With around 10 million registered diesel cars in the country, about 4 million vehicles, including 2 million freight trucks require urea solutions under the country’s stricter emission rules.

The government in 2015 had made it mandatory for diesel drivers to install equipment that requires the use of urea water solution to reduce emissions.

South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki mentioned that they are currently in talks with about 10 countries, to import 10,000 tons of urea to help ease the urea supply shortage.

The country this week is scheduled to bring in 27,000 liters of urea solution from Australia via military aircraft and import another 200 tons of urea from Vietnam next week.