South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil jumped 67 percent in April from the same month a year earlier, soaring after international sanctions were lifted on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.
Seoul brought in 863,557 tonnes of Iranian crude oil last month, or 210,996 barrels per day (bpd), compared with 516,918 tonnes a year ago, the data showed.
In the first four months of the year, the world’s fifth-largest crude importer shipped in 3,820,054 tonnes, or 933,367 bpd, of crude from the Middle Eastern country, versus 1,918,056 tonnes in the same period in 2015, according to the data.
Iran has set its June official selling prices (OSPs) for heavier crude grades it sells to Asia at the biggest discounts to Saudi and Iraqi oil since 2007-2008, raising the stakes in its fight to regain market share.
Iran has increased production and exports more quickly than expected. Output has reached some 3.56 million bpd, up 300,000 bpd and the highest since late 2011, prior to the introduction of sanctions, the IEA said.
Overall, South Korea shipped in nearly 12 million tonnes of crude last month, or 2.93 million bpd. The total was 13 percent higher than the 10.59 million tonnes imported in April of 2015, the customs data showed.
Final data for last month’s crude oil imports will be released by state-run Korea National Oil Corp later this month.