India, South Korea Nov. Iran Crude Imports Decline

India’s oil imports from Iran will likely rise in December.India’s oil imports from Iran will likely rise in December.

Indian refiners imported nearly half as much crude oil from Iran in November as the month before, ship tracking data showed, while South Korea’s imports last month dropped to the lowest level since June.

India received about 266,000 barrels per day of oil from Iran last month, a decline of 43% from October and 55% from a year ago, according to a review of tanker arrival data from trade sources and numbers available on Thomson Reuters Eikon.

The world’s No. 3 crude oil consumer has cut purchases from Iran to a 21-month low in protest at Tehran’s decision to potentially award a giant gas field to Russia.

For April-November, the first eight months of this fiscal year, India shipped in 19% less Iranian oil at about 427,200 bpd, according to the data.

But India’s oil imports from Iran will likely rise in December, as vessels holding about 4 million barrels of oil sailed from the Iranian ports in end-November and discharged cargoes in early December, the data showed.

Last month’s drop in Iranian crude purchases left the Middle East’s slice of India’s overall oil imports squeezed to 57% in November from about 69% in October. Iraq continued to be the top oil supplier to India, followed by Saudi Arabia, the data showed.

South Korea’s November imports from Iran were also around 1.3 million tons, or 316,575 barrels per day, customs data showed on Friday. The import volume was 25.2% lower from 1.73 million tons from a year earlier, and 21.6% down from October.

South Korea, one of Iran’s major Asian buyers, mainly buys an ultra-light oil, also known as condensate, but the crude oil data usually include condensate without a breakdown of the imports.

Iran has stepped up its oil output to regain its lost market share since sanctions were lifted last year. 

South Korea’s oil imports from Iran in the first 11 months of this year jumped 36.5% to nearly 17 million tons, or 372,890 bpd, compared with 12.45 million tons over the same period of last year, according to the customs data.

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