S. Korea Oil Imports Drop

S. Korea Oil Imports DropS. Korea Oil Imports Drop

South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude in the first 10 months of 2014 were below the 2013 average, meeting international sanction requirements, and it imported nearly 120,000 tons from the United States as it brought the first Alaskan crude in a decade.

Preliminary customs data from the world’s fifth-largest crude importer showed on Saturday that Seoul bought 283,287 tons of crude oil from Tehran last month, or 66,984 barrels per day (bpd), compared with 420,402 tons the year before.

Iranian crude shipments between January and October into Asia’s fourth-largest economy hit more than 5 million tons, or 122,564 bpd, down 9 percent from a year ago. It was also 9 percent below the 2013 average of 134,000 bpd, according to Reuters. Asian buyers, including South Korea, will hold their crude imports from Iran at end-2013 levels under a preliminary deal between Iran and Western powers agreed in November 2013.

South Korea’s SK Energy and Hyundai Oilbank import Iranian oil and their imports fluctuate as each buys crude every other month.

The customs data showed that South Korea imported 119,439 tons, or more than 875,000 barrels, of crude worth $79.394 million from the United States last month, giving an average price of $91 a barrel.

In September, a company source and shipping data showed the first US export of Alaskan crude to South Korea in more than a decade had set sail after South Korea’s GS Caltex Corp - a joint venture between GS Holdings and Chevron Corp - bought the oil on the spot market.

Overall, South Korea imported 9.98 million tons of crude last month, or 2.36 million bpd.