S. Korea Buy­ers Head­ing to Iran for Re­sum­ing Oil Im­ports

Iran News - - WORLD NEWS -

SIN­GA­PORE (Reuters) - A South Korean del­e­ga­tion in­clud­ing oil buy­ers is ex­pected to head to Iran next week to dis­cuss re­sum­ing Ira­nian oil im­ports af­ter a three-month halt, three sources with knowl­edge of the mat­ter said.

South Korea is one of eight coun­tries that re­ceived waivers from the United States to con­tinue im­port­ing Ira­nian oil for 180 days. It can im­port up to 200,000 bar­rels per day (bpd) of Ira­nian oil, mostly con­den­sate, the sources said, with­out in­vok­ing U.S. eco­nomic sanc­tions re-im­posed on Iran on Nov. 5.

The North Asian coun­try was the third-big­gest buyer of Ira­nian oil and also the largest im­porter of its con­den­sate be­fore it stopped im­ports in Septem­ber ahead of U.S. sanc­tions. South Korea’s con­den­sate im­ports from Iran stood at 159,770 bpd in Jan­uary-Au­gust, down about 49 per­cent from 311,885 bpd in the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to Reuters cal­cu­la­tions based on the Korea Na­tional Oil Corp (KNOC) data.

Con­den­sate is an ul­tra light oil pro­cessed at split­ters, typ­i­cally to pro­duce naph­tha for petro­chem­i­cals.

While the waiver has given South Korea the green light to re­sume Ira­nian oil im­ports, the sources said is­sues such as pay­ment, ship­ping and in­sur­ance needed to be worked out. “The ac­tual (im­port) vol­ume will de­pend on next week’s ne­go­ti­a­tions,” one of the sources said, adding that the oil’s price will be a key fac­tor.

The U.S. sanc­tions waivers have eased pres­sure on Iran to fur­ther dis­count its oil against Saudi Ara­bia’s.

SK In­cheon Petrochem, a petro­chem­i­cal unit of SK In­no­va­tion ; Hyundai Chem­i­cal, a unit of Hyundai Oil­bank ; and Han­wha To­tal Petro­chem­i­cals, a joint ven­ture be­tween Han­wha Corp and France’s To­tal , are reg­u­lar buy­ers of Ira­nian con­den­sate.

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