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South Korea's Crude Imports From Iran Surge Eight-Fold
South Korea's Crude Imports From Iran Surge Eight-Fold

South Korea's Crude Imports From Iran Surge Eight-Fold

South Korea's Crude Imports From Iran Surge Eight-Fold

South Korea's Iranian crude oil imports in December soared nearly eight times greater than a year ago, and its 2016 crude imports from Tehran more than doubled from 2015 levels, following last January's lifting of sanctions targeting Tehran.

The world's fifth-largest crude importer brought 1.55 million tons of Iranian crude in December, or 367,317 barrels per day, compared with 207,629 tons a year ago and 1.73 million tons in the previous month, customs office data showed on Sunday, Reuters reported.

In November, South Korea's Iranian crude imports more than quadrupled from a year earlier as Hyundai Chemical's new condensate splitter boosted the country's ultra-light oil demand from the OPEC member.

South Korea's crude oil import data usually includes condensate, but it does not provide a breakdown.

South Korea is one of Iran's major oil customers. Seoul imported 14 million tons, or 281,187 bpd, of crude from Tehran in 2016, up 145.4% from 5.7 million tons, or 114,595 bpd, in 2015.

Iran, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was exempted from a supply cut deal agreed by OPEC members last year.

Meanwhile, crude imports from Saudi Arabia in December rose 6.7% from a year earlier to 4.01 million tons, or 948,936 bpd. Imports from Korea's top oil supplier in full-year 2016 increased 5% from 2015 to 43.81 million tons, or 879,832 bpd.

Overall, Asia's fourth-largest economy shipped in 13.24 million tons of crude oil in December, or 3.13 million bpd, down 1.2% from 13.4 million tons a year ago, according to the customs data.

South Korea imported 143.95 million tons of crude in 2016, or 2.89 million bpd, up 4.4% from 137.83 million tons from the previous year.

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

 

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