News ID: 239118
Published: 0411 GMT February 19, 2019

South Korea’s monthly Iran oil imports worth $101m

South Korea’s monthly Iran oil imports worth $101m

South Korean companies imported Iranian crude worth $101.2 million last month, the first such move in five months, data showed on Tuesday.

The January figure represents less than one-fifth of $539 million, the average monthly Iranian crude oil imports for the first seven months of 2018, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service, reported Yonhap.

South Korean companies stopped importing Iranian crude oil in September last year, two months before the United States reinstated all sanctions against Tehran after lifting restrictions following the 2015 landmark nuclear deal.

Still, the US has allowed South Korea and seven other countries to continue to buy Iranian oil over the next six months. South Korea is the third-largest buyer of Iranian oil.

South Korean refiners and chemical firms had relied heavily on Iranian condensate for production of various petrochemical products thanks to a stable supply and price competitiveness.

Naphtha — a key raw material for petrochemicals­­ — is derived from condensate.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Monday that Iran has become self-sufficient in gasoline production.

"Fortunately, we do not need to import gasoline anymore. We have attained self-sufficiency. We can export gasoline but have no export plans," Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Iran's state TV.

OPEC member Iran has for years struggled to meet its domestic fuel needs due to a lack of refining capacity and international sanctions that limited the supply of spare parts for plant maintenance.

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