Korea’s US crude imports slip in December, but double in 2019

16-Jan-2020 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:02 AM Print This Post

South Korea’s imports of crude oil from the United States more than doubled in 2019 despite dipping in December, data showed on Wednesday, as it bolstered purchases of US oil in the absence of Iranian crude.

South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest crude importer, has ramped up US oil imports, making the United States its No. 3 supplierup from No. 6 in 2018while purchases from top suppliers Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have eased.

The move comes amid a halt on purchases of Iranian oil since May due to US sanctions on Tehran and a push by US President Donald Trump to reduce trade deficits with major trading partners. At the same time, analysts say US oil has become more attractive as the shale boom has boosted the country’s production.

South Korea’s US crude imports dipped 6 percent in December to nearly 1.7 million tonnes, or about 401,400 barrels per day (bpd), customs data showed, but were still up 8.5 percent from around 1.6 million tonnes in November.

For the full-year, US crude imports rose 126 percent to 17.79 million tonnes, or 357,203 bpd, from just 7.87 million tonnes in 2018.

This compares with a 7.8 percent decline from top supplier Saudi Arabia to 40.21 million tonnes and a 7.1 percent decline from Kuwait.

Crude oil shipments from Saudi Arabia fell 17.6 percent in December to 2.72 million tonnes, or 644,096 bpd, while South Korea’s total December crude imports eased 3.4 percent year-on-year to 11.95 million tonnes, or 2.83 million bpd.

South Korea’s overall crude imports for 2019 fell 3.7 percent to 143.06 million tonnes of crude, or 2.87 million bpd.

For 2019, South Korea imported Iranian crude oil from January to April. Its imports of Iranian oil were 3.87 million tonnes, or 77,754 bpd, down 45.9 percent from 2018, the data showed.

The country’s final crude oil imports data from state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) is due to be released later this month.



Category: Korea

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