SEJONG, Nov. 29 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil soared in the third quarter of this year from a year earlier following the lifting of international sanctions against the Middle East country, government data showed Tuesday.
A total of 29.8 million barrels of crude oil was imported from Iran during the July-September period, soaring 147.7 percent from 12 million barrels tallied over the same period last year, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Iran had been one of the biggest crude oil exporters to South Korea, which imports nearly all of its oil needs, until the international community imposed economic sanctions on it over its nuclear weapons program in 2012.
South Korea imported US$9.36 billion worth of crude from Iran in 2011, but the figure plunged to $2.27 billion in 2015.
As Washington and Tehran reached a landmark nuclear deal in January, South Korea has expanded imports of Iranian oil, which is cheaper than that of other oil-rich countries.
The comparable figure for the second quarter was 25.35 million barrels in the previous quarter, also up 123 percent.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s overall oil imports increased 3.9 percent on-year to 270.4 million barrels during the three-month period on the back of low oil prices, while imports of oil-related products, such as liquefied petroleum gas, jumped 14.3 percent on-year to 88.7 million barrels in the third quarter.
South Korea’s exports of petroleum products fell 2 percent to 127.4 million barrels over the cited period, with the value of exports sliding 16.6 percent on-year to 6.59 billion, according to the ministry.