S. Korea's Iran Oil Imports Jump

S. Korea's Iran Oil Imports JumpS. Korea's Iran Oil Imports Jump

South Korea's crude oil imports from Iran jumped 43% in September from a year ago, though shipments in the first nine months of 2015 fell 4.5%, reflecting sanctions restricting buying over Tehran's nuclear program.

The world's fifth-largest crude importer brought 800,111 tons of Iranian crude in September, or 195,494 barrels per day, compared with 558,357 tons, a year ago, preliminary data from its customs office showed on Thursday, Reuters reported.

After the July 14 deal with world powers to end years of sanctions over its nuclear program, the OPEC producer is keen to claw back market share it lost as a result of western sanctions.

Seoul bought 4.58 million tons, or 123,078 bpd, of crude from Tehran in January-September, versus 4.80 million tons in the same period in 2014, the data showed.

Out of four South Korean refiners, SK Energy Co Ltd and Hyundai Oilbank Co Ltd import oil from Iran. Their imports typically swing from month to month but imports should be no higher than last year's levels under the sanctions.

South Korea's crude imports from Iran in 2014 were 6.2 million tons, or 124,497 bpd, down 7.1% from the 2013 average of 134,000 bpd.

Overall, Seoul imported 10.43 million tons of crude last month, or 2.55 million bpd, down 1% from 10.53 million tons a year ago.

Final data for September imports with more detail will be available from state-run Korea National Oil Corporation later this month.