South Korea and India raised their oil import from Iran following the lifting of international sanctions with the implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
South Korea’s crude imports from Iran rose further in July by nearly fourfold the level of a year ago, and 5.9 percent higher than the previous month.
Seoul brought in 1.10 million tons of Iranian crude oil last month, or 260,910 barrels per day (bpd), 285 percent above the 286,374 tons imported a year earlier when sanctions were imposed on Tehran, its customs office data showed on Monday, Reuters reported.
The world’s fifth-largest crude importer shipped in 7.22 million tons of crude from the Middle Eastern country in the January-July period of 2016, or 248,616 bpd, versus 3.23 million tons in the same period in 2015, according to the data. That was more than double from a year ago.
Iranian oil sales may stay strong as the OPEC producer cut prices for August crude sales to Asia, the Mediterranean and from the port of Sidi Kerir in Egypt, in a continuing effort to regain market share in these regions post-sanctions.
Hyundai Oilbank, South Korea’s smallest refiner by capacity, bought its first Iranian condensate cargoes of about 1.1 million barrels loading in June and August ahead of the start-up of its new 130,000-bpd splitter, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.
South Korea’s crude oil imports data usually includes condensates, without giving a breakdown.
Overall, Asia’s number four economy imported 12.06 million tons of crude last month, or 2.85 million bpd. The total was 3.9 percent lower than the 12.55 million tons imported in July last year, the customs data showed.
In the first seven months of the year, South Korea imported 83.04 million tons of crude, or 2.86 million bpd, compared with 80.01 million tons, or 2.77 million bpd, in the same period in 2015.
Final data for last month’s crude oil imports will be released by state-run Korea National Oil Corp later this month.
Rise in India’s oil imports
India’s July oil imports from Iran rose to their highest in at least five years, climbing to over 500,000 bpd for the second time in five months, revised tanker arrival data obtained from trade sources show.
India, Iran’s top oil client after China, shipped in about 523,000 bpd oil in July — an increase of 37 percent from June and more than double from a year ago, the data showed.
Iran used to be India’s second-biggest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia until 2011, when New Delhi had to cut purchases from Tehran because of Western sanctions.
India’s oil imports from Iran have been consistently rising since the lifting of sanctions earlier this year.
In the first four months of this fiscal year, India’s imports from Iran have climbed 48 percent more than a year ago to about 420,000 bpd, the data showed.
Last month two state refiners Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum lifted oil from Tehran after a gap of years.
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