South Korea's December Iran Crude Imports Drop

South Korea's December Iran Crude Imports DropSouth Korea's December Iran Crude Imports Drop

South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil dropped 30.6% in December from the year before, while inbound shipments from the Middle Eastern nation over the whole of 2017 jumped by 29.1%, customs data showed on Monday.

The world’s fifth-largest crude importer in December brought in 1.08 million tons of Iranian crude, or 255,081 barrels per day, down 30.6% from 1.55 million tons a year earlier, Reuters reported.

Major Asian crude buyers, including South Korea, have snapped up purchases of Iranian oil since sanctions over the nation’s nuclear program were lifted a couple of years ago.

South Korea mainly buys condensate from Iran, an ultra-light form of crude, but its data do not provide a breakdown on import categories.

Despite a push by Iran to boost exports, its condensate shipments have been dented by a technical problem in the oil layer of the giant South Pars Gas Field that is shared between Iran and Qatar.

Iranian oil and shipping sources said earlier this month that oil output from the third-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had stayed around 3.8 million bpd.

For the whole of 2017, South Korea’s oil imports from Iran rose 29.1% to 18.07 million tons, or 362,884 bpd, versus 14 million tons in 2016, according to the customs data.

In total, South Korea imported 13.25 million tons of crude oil in December, or 3.13 million bpd, up 0.1% from 13.24 million tons a year ago, the data showed.

South Korea’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia last month edged down 0.2% from a year ago to 4 million tons, or 946,615 bpd, with total 2017 crude intake from its top oil supplier falling 1.7% to 43.06 million tons from 2016.

In full-year 2017, South Korea’s crude oil imports increased 3.3% to 148.68 million tons, or 2.99 million bpd, versus 130.71 million tons the previous year.

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

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints