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 the Mideast nation.
The world’s fifth-largest crude importer brought 1.55 million tons of Iranian crude in December, or 367,317 barrels per day (bpd), compared with 207,629 tons a year ago and 1.73 million tons in the previous month, customs office data showed on Sunday.
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 Middle Eastern country.
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 percent from 5.7 million tons, or 114,595 bpd, in 2015.
Iran, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was exempted from a supply cut deal agreed by OPEC members last year, capitalizing on the exemption by shipping 13 million barrels of oil from floating storage, according to industry sources and data. More info