Based on figures provided by state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC), the country’s imports of Iranian crude in April reached around 7.1 million barrels. The figure for the same period last year stood at 3.7 million barrels.
The total oil imports of South Korea from Iran over the first four months of 2016 stood at 29.9 million barrels whereas the figure for the same period last year stood at 14.3 million barrels.
South Korea’s media in April quoted informed industry sources as saying that the country intends to more than double its imports of crude oil and natural gas condensate from Iran. The sources - that were not named - emphasized that the policy is meant to ramp up energy ties with the Islamic Republic.
Last year, South Korea imported $2.20 billion worth of crude oil from Iran, down 51 percent from the previous year and far lower than $9.36 billion in 2011, according to Korea Times.
By volume, imports of crude and condensate came to 42.4 million barrels last year.
On top of boosting imports of Iranian crude, South Korea will push for a joint project to stockpile two million barrels of Iranian crude and condensate at a storage facility south of Seoul, according to the sources.
Iran’s Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said earlier this month that Iran has more than quadrupled its oil exports to South Korea following the removal of sanctions five months ago.
Zangeneh said Sunday that oil exports to South Korea have increased to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) from less than 100,000 bpd prior to the lifting of anti-Iran sanctions in January.
He added, however, that Iran is still facing banking troubles for the transfer of its cash from the Southeast Asian country, noting that Tehran and Seoul are working to resolve the problems.