South Korean oil imports from Iran drop
South Korea’s imports of crude oil from Iran dropped 39 per cent from a year ago in the first eleven months of the year after sanctions squeezed shipments, data from state-run Korea National Oil Corp showed.
South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest crude oil buyer, imported a total 80.21 million barrels of crude oil in November, up 9.5 per cent on the year. Of this total, it imported 5.87 million barrels or 195,700 barrels per day (bpd) from Iran in November, down 29.8 per cent on the year, the data showed. Total shipments from Iran over the first 11 months was 50.42 million barrels or 150,513 bpd.
South Korea is one of Iran’s biggest oil customers, but imports have been hit hard as European Union sanctions made it tough to ship, insure and pay for the oil. The West has imposed sanctions on Iran as it suspects Tehran wants to develop nuclear weapons, a claim Iran denies.
South Korean refiners resumed imports of Iranian crude oil late in September for October arrivals after a two-month halt, importing about 200,000 bpd or full contracted volumes, after finding a way around the European Union ban on insurance cover. Of four Korean refiners, SK Energy and Hyundai Oilbank which import Iranian crude will cut imports of Iranian crude during the six months to May.