S Korea’s Iran oil imports fall 51pc

Monday, February 17, 2014 – Seoul—South Korea’s crude imports from Iran fell 51 percent in January from a month earlier, and shipments are expected to remain at around 125,000 bpd through the first six months of the interim deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Under the Geneva accord agreed between Iran and six major powers last November that went into effect in January, South Korea and other Asian buyers can hold to crude imports at the sanctions-reduced rates reached at the end of 2013.

South Korea imported 275,169 tons of Iranian crude last month, or 65,064 barrels per day (bpd), down 51 percent from December, also down 66 percent from a year earlier, preliminary customsdata showed on Saturday.

The interim deal reached last November between Iran and six major powers eases some of the sanctions — including freeing up some frozen oil payments — in return for curbs to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Tehran and the so-called P5+1 group of world powers still have to negotiate their differences to settle a final deal. Until then, no big jumps are expected in crude imports by Iran’s top four buyers China, India, Japan and South Korea.

The four importers have been steadily cutting purchases over the last two years to avoid falling foul of toughened US and EU sanctions put in place in 2012.

The four Asian buyers together cut oil imports from Iran by 15 percent on the year to an average of 935,862 bpd in 2013, government and industry data showed.

By Pakistan Observer


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