The country most affected by Russia’s noble gas export restrictions is South Korea

As part of Russia’s strategy to weaponize resources, Russia’s Deputy Trade Minister Spark said via Tass News in early June, “From the end of May 2022, there will be six noble gases (neon, argon, helium, krypton, krypton, etc.) xenon, radon). “We have taken steps to restrict the export of helium. ”

According to South Korean media reports, rare gases are critical to semiconductor manufacturing, and export restrictions could affect semiconductor supply chains in South Korea, Japan and other countries. Some say South Korea, which relies heavily on imported noble gases, will be the hardest hit.

According to South Korean customs statistics, in 2021, South Korea’s neon gas import sources will be 67% from China, 23% from Ukraine, and 5% from Russia. The reliance on Ukraine and Russia is said to be in Japan. Although big. Semiconductor factories in South Korea say they have months’ worth of rare gas inventories, but supply shortages could become apparent if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is prolonged. These inert gases can be obtained as a by-product of the steel industry’s air separation for oxygen extraction, and therefore also from China, where the steel industry is booming but prices are rising.

A South Korean semiconductor official said, “South Korea’s rare gases are mostly imported, and unlike the United States, Japan and Europe, no major gas companies can produce rare gases through air separation, so the export restrictions are most likely to be affected. ”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, South Korea’s semiconductor industry has increased its imports of neon gas from China and stepped up efforts to protect the country’s noble gas. POSCO, South Korea’s largest steel company, has started preparations for the production of high-purity neon in 2019 in accordance with the domestic semiconductor material production policy. From January 2022, it will become the oxygen plant of Gwangyang Steel Works. A neon production facility has been built to produce high-purity neon using a large-scale air separation plant. POSCO’s high-purity neon gas is produced in cooperation with TEMC, a Korean company specializing in semiconductor special gases. After being refined by TEMC using its own technology, it is said to be the finished product “excimer laser gas”. Koyo Steel’s oxygen plant can produce about 22,000 Nm3 of high-purity neon per year, but is said to account for only 16% of domestic demand. POSCO is also preparing to produce other noble gases at Koyo Steel’s oxygen plant.

Post time: Jul-22-2022