S. Korea's Aug. Iran Oil Imports Up 112% YoY
South Korea's crude oil imports from Iran rose 112.3% in August from a year earlier, while its total crude oil imports fell 2.9% year on year to 86.1 million barrels last month, data from state-run Korea National Oil Corp showed on Friday.
The world's No. 5 importer of crude oil is pushing to more than double its import of crude and condensates from Iran as part of efforts to boost its oil trade with the country, industry sources said, Reuters reported.
Seoul brought in 8.33 million tons of Iranian crude in the first eight months of 2016, or 250,160 bpd, versus 3.78 million tons a year ago, up 120%, South Korean customs data showed.
South Korea's higher imports come as data show a substantial improvement in Iran's outbound crude shipments, especially to its traditional customers in Asia.
India's daily oil imports from Iran in August surged to their highest in at least 15 years while South Korea's intake nearly doubled from a year ago last month, as Tehran continues to regain market share after the easing of international sanctions.
India received about 576,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil in August, up about 10% from July, according to trade sources and ship arrival data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain & Commodities Research.
The August imports from Iran are likely a record although reliable data is available only back to 2001.
Iran used to be India's second-biggest oil supplier, a position now held by Iraq, before international sanctions aimed at Tehran's nuclear program began undercutting its petroleum trade.
India's oil imports from Iran last month were nearly triple the 199,000 bpd taken in August a year ago, according to the tanker arrival data. In April-August, the first five months of India's current fiscal year, Iran's share in its overall imports surged to 10.7%, its highest since 2010/11.
The strong demand for Iran's crude in Asia and Europe has enabled it to raise its oil output to just over 3.8 million bpd as of this month. Iran has ramped up oil output by 1 million barrels per day since the removal of sanctions in a quest to regain the ground it lost under the punitive restrictions that ostensibly targeted its nuclear program but undermined its economic and industrial base and harmed its oil trade with the world.
The country is now keen to pump at the pre-sanctions level of around 4 million barrels a day in the short-term and boost production to 5.8 million bpd within five years, including 1 million barrels of gas condensates.
Iran's Oil Ministry said last month its oil output has reached 3.85 million bpd. OPEC cited secondary sources in its monthly report in September that Iran is pumping slightly above 3.6 million bpd.