16-07-2016

S.Korea’s June Iran crude imports surge nearly 115 pct y/y

crude

South Korea’s crude imports from Iran jumped nearly 115 percent in June from a year earlier as cheaper prices for Iranian condensate prompted Asia’s major ultra-light oil buyer to boost purchases of the oil products last month.

Seoul brought in 1.04 million tonnes of Iranian crude oil last month, or 254,653 barrels per day (bpd), more than two times higher than 485,182 tonnes imported a year earlier when sanctions were imposed on Tehran, its customs office data showed on Friday.

The world’s fifth-largest crude oil importer brought in 6.12 million tonnes, or 246,522 bpd, of crude from the Middle Eastern country in the first half of this year. That was almost 108 percent higher than 2.95 million tonnes in the same period in 2015, according to the data.

South Korea’s crude oil imports data usually includes condensate, without giving a breakdown.

June’s volume was expected to soar as two South Korean buyers, refiners SK Energy and Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co were set to lift at least 6 million barrels of Iranian South Pars condensate (SPC) in June, up from about 3 million to 4 million barrels in April and May, according to trade sources.

More Iranian condensate imports are expected in the fourth quarter if Iran signs a deal with Hyundai Chemical to supply the company’s new 110,000-bpd splitter in Daesan on the country’s west coast, which would be completed in the second half of the year.

Hyundai Chemical is a joint venture between Hyundai Oilbank Co and Lotte Chemical.

Hyundai Oilbank declined to comment on a term supply deal with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

Overall, Asia’s No.4 economy imported 11.26 million tonnes of crude last month, or 2.75 million bpd. The total was 5.5 percent higher than the 10.67 million tonnes imported in June of 2015, the customs data showed.

In the first half of this year, South Korea imported 70.99 million tonnes of crude, or 2.86 million bpd, compared with 67.46 million tonnes, or 2.73 million bpd, in the same period in 2015.

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

Source: Reuters

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