South Korea’s Iranian oil imports rise over 40% in Aug.
Iran has been boosting oil production since Western sanctions over its nuclear program were lifted last year, aiming to increase crude output to 4.5 mbd within five years.
In the first eight months of 2017, South Korea’s oil imports from Iran were 12.22 million tons, or 368,529 bpd, up 46.7 percent from 8.33 million tons during the same period the year before, the data showed.
South Korea, one of Iran’s major Asian clients, mainly purchases an ultra-light oil from the country, but a breakdown of imports is not available. It uses ultra-light oil to produce more expensive fuels like naphtha.
For Asian buyers, Iran set the official selling prices of its light and heavy grades at 18 cents and $1.17 respectively below the Oman/dubai average for August, while it raised September Iranian Light oil prices 20 cents higher than those in August.
While the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members and some non-members strive to curb their production to clear a global oil glut, Iran is not capping its output as it was excluded from the OPEC-LED supply cut deal to reduce their production by around 1.8 mbd until next March.
South Korea’s total crude imports in August rose 17.7 percent to 13.55 million tons, or 3.20 million bpd, according to the data.
In January-august of 2017, South Korea shipped in 98.23 million tons of crude, or 2.96 mbd, up 3.9 percent from 94.55 million tons over the same period last year.
State-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) is set to release South Korea’s final data for August crude imports later this month.
Meanwhile, ship tracking data obtained from industry sources and data compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research & Forecasts showed that India imported 335,400 barrels per day (bpd) oil from Iran in August.
August imports from Iran were down 19.2 percent compared with July, the data showed.
India’s oil imports in August declined 5.3 percent from a year ago to 4.05 mbd, the data showed.
During the month, imports from Latin America and Central Asia including Russia surged from a year ago, making up for reduced purchases from the Middle East and Asia. Purchases from Africa were largely flat, the data showed.
Iraq continued to top Indian oil purchases for the fifth month in a row followed by Saudi Arabia, the data showed. Venezuela emerged as the third biggest supplier, sending Nigeria to fifth position. Iran continued to hold the fourth rank.