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EghtesadOnline: South Korea’s crude imports from Iran jumped nearly 115% in June from a year earlier as cheaper prices for Iranian condensate prompted Asia’s major ultra-light oil buyer to boost purchases of the oil products last month.

Seoul brought in 1.04mn tons of Iranian crude oil last month, or 254,653 barrels per day (bpd), more than two times higher than 485,182 tons imported a year earlier, its customs office data showed, ISNA reports.

The world’s fifth-largest crude oil importer brought in 6.12mn tons, or 246,522 bpd, of crude from the Middle Eastern country in the first half of this year.


That was almost 108% higher than 2.95mn tons in the same period in 2015, according to the data.


South Korea’s crude oil imports data usually includes condensate, without giving a breakdown.


June’s volume was expected to soar as two South Korean buyers, refiners SK Energy and Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co were set to lift at least 6mn barrels of Iranian South Pars condensate (SPC) in June, up from about 3mn to 4mn barrels in April and May, according to trade sources.
 

More Iranian condensate imports are expected in the fourth quarter if Iran signs a deal with Hyundai Chemical to supply the company’s new 110,000-bpd splitter in Daesan on the country’s west coast, which would be completed in the second half of the year.


Hyundai Chemical is a joint venture between Hyundai Oilbank Co and Lotte Chemical.


Hyundai Oilbank declined to comment on a term supply deal with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).


Overall, Asia’s No 4 economy imported 11.26mn tons of crude last month, or 2.75mn bpd.


The total was 5.5% higher than the 10.67mn tons imported in June of 2015, the customs data showed.


In the first half of this year, South Korea imported 70.99mn tons of crude, or 2.86mn bpd, compared with 67.46mn tons, or 2.73mn bpd, in the same period in 2015.

South Korea crude imports