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South Korea struggling to replace Iranian oil

South Korea struggling to replace Iranian oil

Teheran, July 16 - Neftegaz.RU. South Korea’s crude oil imports have fallen 12.6 % in June to 11.49 million tons, an indication that the country is having problems replacing its oil imports from Iran.

According to Reuters, the country, once one of Iran’s major oil buyers, imported no crude oil from Iran for a 2nd month in June following the end of a U.S. sanctions wavier. South Korean oil buyers mainly imported condensate, an ultra-light oil, from Iran.

Shipments of Iranian oil in the 1st 6 months of the year were nearly 3.9 million tons, or 156,155 barrels per day (bpd), down 36.9 % from 6.13 million tons during the same period a year earlier.

Reflecting South Korea’s efforts to replace Iranian oil and diversify its crude sources, imports from the U.S. nearly tripled to 1.09 million tons in June, or 264,745 bpd. It also imported 265,403 tons of crude oil from Kazakhstan in June, up 96.2% from 135,254 tons a year earlier.

In the 1st half of the year, South Korea’s crude oil imports dipped 2 % to 72.7 million tons, or 2.93 million bpd. South Korea was among the 8 countries which were granted 6-month waivers from the U.S. in November 2018 to buy oil from Iran.

However, Washington said in April that it would not renew any exemptions for sanctions on Iran, stepping up pressure on Tehran. The waivers ended on May 2.

During January-April period South Korea’s total imports from Iran reached 3.87 million tons, or 235,533 bpd as the country resumed imports of Iranian oil in January after a 4-month hiatus.

The surges in Iran’s oil exports came after the country’s Asian buyers rushed to use the opportunity that the waivers on U.S. sanctions has provided.

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