South Korea resumed imports of Iranian oil in January after a four-month hiatus, customs data showed on Friday, but shipments were down 76 percent from the same month last year.
The world`s fifth-largest crude importer won a six-month waiver in November from U.S. sanctions on Tehran`s oil exports, but did not immediately start imports, mainly due to payment and insurance issues.
South Korea, one of Iran`s biggest Asian customers, imported 227,941 tonnes of Iranian crude in January, or 53,676 barrels per day (bpd), data from the country`s customs office showed. This was well down on 950,013 tonnes of Iranian crude a year earlier.
Overall, South Korea shipped in 12.46 million tonnes of crude oil in January, or 2.94 million bpd, down 5.9 percent from 13.25 million tonnes from a year earlier, according to the customs data.
Oil shipments from Saudi Arabia, the country`s top oil supplier, fell 4.8 percent to 3.51 million tonnes in January year on year, as the kingdom continued to curb its output under a supply deal led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
In January, OPEC`s oil output fell by about 800,000 bpd to 30.81 million bpd, and the biggest supply drop came from Saudi Arabia, de facto leader of the oil cartel.
Meanwhile, South Korea`s imports of U.S. crude oil nearly tripled to 1.12 million tonnes in January from 394,331 tonnes a year earlier, reflecting a firm appetite for U.S. oil on the back of tight Middle East supplies.
State-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) will issue final crude oil import data later this month.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)