Sanchi tragedy slashed Iran’s oil exports to South Korea

Press TV – Recent figures show that Iran’s exports of oil to South Korea dropped by almost a half in January after a tanker incident off China’s shores, but the country’s exports to India rose nonetheless by above 50 percent. 

Figures released by Reuters show that Iran exported 224,632 barrels per day (bpd) to South Korea last month, indicating a plunge of 47 percent compared to the same period last year. The drop was the lowest since October 2016, the news agency reported.

The fall in South Korea’s Iranian oil intake partly reflected the sinking last month of Iran’s Sanchi tanker which was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate after a collision with a Chinese cargo ship. Sanchi sank after it was ablaze for almost a week off China’s eastern coast. Its condensate cargo was to be delivered to South Korea’s petrochemical company Hanwha Total Petrochemical. The tragedy left 32 crew members dead – 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.

South Korea, the world’s fifth-biggest crude oil importer, mainly buys condensate – an ultra-light oil – from Iran, Reuters reported. It added that the country’s imports of condensate had on average declined since November 2017 as Iran’s condensate exports had been dented by a “technical problem” at South Pars field.

Meanwhile, other figures show that Iran’s exports of crude oil to India saw a significant rise in January.

Figures released by Reuters show that Essar Oil, a key Indian oil client for Iran, imported nearly 52 percent more oil from Iran in January than the previous month.

Essar shipped in about 204,500 bpd of oil from Iran in January, compared with about 135,000 bpd in December, the data showed.