S. Korea's Jan. Iran Oil Imports Decline

S. Korea's Jan. Iran Oil Imports DeclineS. Korea's Jan. Iran Oil Imports Decline

South Korea's imports of Iranian crude oil edged down in January from a year earlier, meeting international sanction requirements as the shipment was below last year's average at 125,000 barrels per day (bpd), Reuters reported.

Seoul imported 273,626 tons of crude oil from Tehran last month, or 64,699 bpd, compared with 275,169 tons a year ago, preliminary customs data from the world's fifth-largest crude oil importer showed on Sunday. Iranian crude shipments in 2014 were 6.2 million tons, or 124,497 bpd, down 7.1 percent from the 2013 average of 134,000 bpd. Iran and six powers - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - failed last November to resolve their 12-year stand-off over Tehran's nuclear program. Negotiators have set a June 30 final deadline for an accord.

Under the accord, major Asian buyers, including South Korea, should hold their crude imports from Tehran at end-2013 levels.

Of South Korea's four refiners, only SK Energy Co Ltd and Hyundai Oilbank Co Ltd import Iranian oil and their imports fluctuate each month. Overall, South Korea imported 11.35 million tons of crude last month, or 2.68 million bpd. The total was 7.3 percent higher than the 10.58 million tons imported in January of 2014, the customs data showed.