Korea Crude Imports Hit Record As Iraqi Volumes Double

Asia’s third largest crude importer South Korea took a record 2.77mn b/d in 2015. Of this, 2.30mn b/d came from the Middle East, also a record. But, while the overall volumes from the region continue to edge higher (see graph 1), Korea has slowly been diversifying its crude sources.

The region provided 82.9% of Korea’s crude imports in 2015. Whilst still extremely high – and higher than its East Asian peers (see graph 2), this is down on almost 87% for 2013 (see table, p9).

One of five countries to have maintained regular imports of Iranian crude under the international sanctions regime (with a waiver), South Korea has nevertheless consistently cut purchases since sanctions were ratcheted up in late 2011 and 2012. Volumes have fallen from 247,000 b/d in 2011, when Iran was Korea’s third biggest crude supplier, to just 114,000 b/d last year when it was number seven. (CONTINUED - 557 WORDS)


chart 1: South Korean Imports Hit Record Levels In 2015 (‘000 B/D)
chart 2: Key Asian Crude Importers Mideast Dependence (% Of Imports)
chart 3: Iraq, Russia Key Beneficiaries From Fall In Iranian Volumes (‘000 B/D)
chart East Asian Crude Imports From Russia Soar To 1.27mn B/D In 2015 ('000 B/D)
table South Korean Crude Oil & Condensate Imports, ‘000 B/D