S. Korea's June Iran Crude Import Up 115%

S. Korea's June Iran Crude Import Up 115%S. Korea's June Iran Crude Import Up 115%

South Korea's crude imports from Iran jumped nearly 115% in June from a year earlier as cheaper prices for Iranian condensate prompted Asia's major ultra-light oil buyer to boost purchase of the oil products last month.

Seoul brought 1.04 million tons of Iranian crude oil last month, or 254,653 barrels per day, more than two times higher than 485,182 tons imported a year earlier when sanctions were imposed on Tehran, its customs office data showed on Friday, Reuters reported.

The world's fifth-largest crude oil importer brought in 6.12 million tons, or 246,522 bpd, of crude from the Middle Eastern country in the first half of this year. That was almost 108% higher than 2.95 million tons in the same period in 2015, according to the data.

South Korea's crude oil imports data usually includes condensate, without giving a breakdown.

June's volume was expected to soar as two South Korean buyers, refiners SK Energy and Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co., were set to lift at least 6 million barrels of Iranian South Pars condensate (SPC) in June, up from about 3 million to 4 million barrels in April and May, according to trade sources.

More Iranian condensate imports are expected in the fourth quarter if Iran signs a deal with Hyundai Chemical to supply the company's new 110,000-bpd refinery in Daesan on the country's west coast, which would be completed in the second half of the year.

Hyundai Oilbank declined to comment on a term supply deal with the National Iranian Oil Company.

Overall, Asia's No.4 economy imported 11.26 million tons of crude last month, or 2.75 million bpd. The total was 5.5% higher than the 10.67 million tons imported in June of 2015, the customs data showed.

In the first half of this year, South Korea imported 70.99 million tons of crude, or 2.86 million bpd, compared with 67.46 million tons, or 2.73 million bpd, in the same period in 2015.

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