Tokyo : South Korea’s crude imports from the Middle East increased 0.8 percent in August from the previous month to 57.39 million barrels, as the spot imports from Saudi Arabia by long-term contract sharply increased.
But the dependence on the Middle East went up by 4.4 month on month percent point to a yearly high of 82.6 percent as crude imports from Asia and Africa decreased, according to the latest data released by the state-run Korea National Oil Corporation.
Kuwait is the third largest crude oil supplier to South Korea, which is Kuwait’s second biggest importer of oil after Japan. By crude type, the import of heavy crude increased month on month, while those of light and medium crude including Kuwait Medium decreased, though Kuwait Medium was the third most imported crude to South Korea, the report said.
Overall crude oil imports in August declined 4.6 percent from the previous month and 11.7 percent from a year earlier, respectively, to 69.45 million barrels mainly due to higher crude stock level compared with last month.
The products output also decreased, affected by refinery maintenance of SK Energy and Hyundai Oil Bank, despite the increase of exports and domestic consumption of petroleum products. Imports from Asia jumped 16.1 percent from July to 9.54 million barrels and those from Africa surged 43.8 percent to 2.52 million barrels.
The average unit price of crude imports went down to USD 70.50 per barrel, slightly lower than July’s price, but had kept above USD 70.
South Korea, with its heavy industrial base, is the fifth-largest oil importer and seventh-largest consuming nation in the world.