South Korea resumes Iranian crude imports in October -- KNOC
Seoul (Platts)--22Nov2012/439 am EST/939 GMT
South Korea imported 5.78 million barrels of Iranian crude oil in
October, resuming purchases after nearly three months of suspension due to a
European Union ban on the provision of insurance for ships carrying oil from
Iran, state-owned Korea National Oil Corp. said Wednesday.
The October import of 186,484 b/d was down 29.5% from the 8.20 million
barrels or 264,452 b/d the country imported in the same month of last year.
The country's sole buyers of Iranian crude, refiners SK Innovation and
Hyundai Oilbank, imported no oil from Iran in August and September, after
receiving 4.26 million barrels from the country in July, Platts previously
reported. The July cargoes loaded in Iran late May, ahead of the EU ban that
took effect July 1.
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Thanks to an agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company to deliver
crude via Iranian tankers, the South Korean refiners could resume oil imports
from Iran beginning last month.
The data from KNOC shows that South Korea's crude imports from Iran over
the first 10 months of this year fell 38.6% year on year to 45.55 million
barrels, compared with 74.23 million barrels a year earlier.
The two refiners are expected to maintain a reduced level of imports, to
be able to get an extension on a waiver from US sanctions that would have
barred South Korean banks from the US financial system, which would
effectively halt Iranian oil imports. South Korea was awarded a 180-day
exemption from US financial sanctions that came into force on June 28, after
it pledged to reduce oil imports from Iran.
Meanwhile, South Korea's total crude import volume in October at 81.25
million barrels or 2.621 million b/d, was down 2% from October 2011's 82.92
million barrels, or 2.675 million b/d, but up from 78.36 million barrels, or
2.612 million b/d in September this year.
The volume from top supplier Saudi Arabia fell 5.4% year on year to 27.05
million barrels from 28.60 million barrels a year earlier, but rose 14.5% from
23.63 million barrels in September. Imports from Kuwait in October was 9.21
million barrels, down from 11.34 million barrels a year earlier and 11.29
million barrels in the previous month.
The volume from Qatar also fell to 8.73 million barrels in October, from
9.41 million barrels a year earlier and 10.38 million barrels in September.
But volume from the United Arab Emirates rose to 8.51 million barrels last
month, from 6.31 million barrels a year earlier and 5.66 million barrels in
South Korea paid $9.18 billion for crude imports in October, up from
$9 billion a year ago and $8.77 billion in September.
--Charles Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Geetha Narayanasamy, email@example.com