South Korea's March Iran Oil Intake Soars

South Korea's March Iran Oil Intake SoarsSouth Korea's March Iran Oil Intake Soars

South Korea's imports of Iranian crude oil surged 81% in March from the same month of the previous year following the removal of sanctions targeting Tehran's nuclear program, customs data showed on Friday.

Seoul bought 1,032,938 tons of Iranian crude oil last month, or 244,240 barrels per day, compared with 570,338 tons imported a year ago, the data showed.

In the first three months of the year, the world's fifth-largest crude importer bought 2,956,497 tons, or 699,068 bpd, of crude from the Middle Eastern country, versus 1,401,138 tons in the same period in 2015, Reuters reported.

Iran, which wants to regain market share after the lifting of sanctions in January, told the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries it raised output last month by a minor 15,000 bpd to 3.40 million bpd.

The world's biggest oil producers will meet in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday to discuss a proposed output freeze at January's levels.

Overall, South Korean imported 11.52 million tons of crude last month, or 2.72 million bpd. The total was 4% higher than the 11.12 million tons imported in March of 2015, the customs data showed.

Final data for last month's crude oil imports will be released by state-run Korea National Oil Corp later this month.

South Korea plans to boost imports of Iranian oil, especially condensate, this year to meet its growing demand. The country's crude oil import data usually include condensate, without giving a breakdown.