What sanction relief? South Korean oil imports from Iran down 44%
South Korea's imports of crude oil from Iran fell in May from April, with its oil intake from the OPEC member in the first five months of the year holding below last year's daily average, customs data showed on Sunday.
South Korea imported 284,327 tons of Iranian crude last month, or 67,230 barrels per day (bpd), compared with 552,884 tons a month ago and 505,004 tons a year ago, according to the preliminary customs data.
Imports of oil from Iran often swing widely from month to month as one of South Korea's two refiners to import Iranian oil usually buys the crude only every other month.
South Korea took 2.5 million tons, or 121,868 bpd, from Iran in the first five months of this year, down 15 percent from 2.9 million tons imported during the same period in 2013 and also 9 percent less than last year's average of 134,000 bpd.
South Korea and other Asian buyers are supposed to hold their crude imports from the OPEC member at end-2013 levels – or between 1 million and 1.1 million bpd - under the terms of the Geneva accord between Iran and six major powers.
That pact took effect in January and eased some sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program.