S. Korean Imports of Iranian Oil Surge

File image courtesy Mortenson

By Reuters 2016-03-15 21:08:56

South Korea's imports of Iranian crude oil surged 91 percent in February from a year earlier with the United States lifting sanctions on Tehran in January, customs data showed on Tuesday.

Seoul brought in 1,064,337 tonnes of Iranian crude oil last month, or 269,020 barrels per day (bpd), almost two times higher than 557,174 tonnes imported a year earlier, the data showed.

In the first two months of the year, the world's fifth largest crude oil importer brought 1,923,560 tonnes, or 486,196 bpd, of crude from the Middle Eastern country, versus 830,800 tonnes in the same period in 2015, according to the data.

A global deal to freeze oil production could be signed in April and exclude Iran, which has the right to boost output after years of sanctions, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said on Monday after talks in Iran.

South Korea plans to boost imports of Iranian oil, especially condensate, this year to meet growing demand after sanctions over the Islamic nation's disputed nuclear programme were lifted in January

South Korea's crude oil import data usually includes condensate, without giving a breakdown.

Overall, South Korea imported 12.92 million tonnes of crude last month, or 3.26 million bpd. The total was 20 percent higher than the 10.74 million tonnes imported in February of 2015, the customs data showed.

Final data for last month's crude oil imports will be released by state-run Korea National Oil Corp later this month.