South Korea in April imported 1.45 million tons of crude oil from Iran, or 353,223 barrels per day (bpd), compared to 1.24 million tons a year earlier, according to customs data, reported Reuters.
For the January-April period, the country’s imports of Iranian crude dropped by 17.4 percent to 3.87 million tons, or 235,533 bpd, versus nearly 4.7 million tons in the same period last year, the data showed.
South Korea was granted a six-month waiver from the United States in November to buy oil from Iran, mostly condensate, or an ultra-light form of crude oil.
However, Washington said in April that it would not renew any exemptions for sanctions on Iran, stepping up pressure on Tehran.
In the wake of that step, South Korean petrochemical makers are expected to scour the world to replace Iranian condensate.
South Korea’s overall April crude oil imports were 12.76 million tons, or 3.1 mbd, up 10.2 percent from 11.58 million tons a year earlier.
In a sign that South Korea has been diversifying its import sources, imports from the United States grew fivefold to 1.45 million tons in April, or 353,006 bpd, from 268,511 tons a year earlier.
In the first four months of the year, the country’s crude oil imports increased by 3.4 percent to 49.91 million tons.
The nation’s final crude oil imports data will be released later this month from state-run Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC).