*South Korea, the world’s number five crude importer, is importing and consuming less in line with much of the developed world. At 2.93mn b/d for the first nine months of 2019 volumes are lower than the annual averages for each of the last three years and down 3% year-on-year.
*The country has traditionally got the vast bulk of its crude from the Mideast Gulf. But a concerted campaign to diversify supplies has seen the Gulf share fall from 85% for 2016 to an average of 71% for the first nine months of 2019 (MEES, 27 September). Indeed, the July (64.2%) and September (66.1%) monthly figures for Gulf market share are the two lowest in well over a decade. In absolute terms Middle East volumes were down 9% year on the year at 2.09mn b/d for the first nine months of 2019. (CONTINUED - 328 WORDS)