South Korea exports $5.18 bn of oil products in Nov, up 6% on year

Dec 01, 2013 12:00 AM

South Korea exported $5.18 billion worth of refined oil products in November, up 6.1% from $4.88 billion a year earlier despite lower prices, as demand was strong from Japan, the US and EU member countries, the energy ministry said Monday.

"The increased exports were attributable to more shipments to advanced nations, such as Japan, the US and the EU, which offset less demand from China and ASEAN nations and lower prices of products," the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.

The average price of oil products was $114.7/barrel in November, compared with $118.9/b a year earlier, it said.

The ministry did not provide actual export volumes for November. The volumes will be available when data from the customs department and state-owned Korea National Oil Corporation are released later this month.

Shipments to the US and Japan in November jumped 771.9% or almost nine times, and 366.9% or five times, respectively, from a year earlier, while exports to China and ASEAN nations fell 25.2% and 32.5%, respectively, it said.

KNOC's data showed that in October, South Korea exported 35.62 million barrels, or 1.15 million b/d, of oil products, worth $4.16 billion at an average price of $117/b. The export volume was down 9.3% year on year.

South Korea's oil product exports have been declining for most of the last few months. Shipments fell 15.9% year on year in September, 7.5% year on year in July, 10.1% in June and 1.7% in May. Exports rose 5.6% in August.

The sluggish oil exports led to lower refinery run rates, resulting in a decline in crude oil imports, the ministry said. South Korea's crude imports fell 7% year on year to 74.6 million barrels in November and its crude import bill fell by 8.6% to $8.33 billion, according to the ministry.

South Korea also imported $2.33 billion worth of oil products in November, down 7.2% from $2.52 billion a year earlier.

The ministry also said the US has renewed waivers from Iran sanctions for South Korea for 180 days, saying it has significantly cut oil purchases from the Middle East country.
The announcement came after the US and five other global powers struck a comprehensive agreement with Iran in Geneva to ease sanctions in return for Iran rolling back some of its nuclear activities.

South Korea imported 40.33 million barrels of Iranian crude oil in the first 10 months of the year, down 9.5% from 44.55 million barrels in the same period last year. The country imported 56.15 million barrels of Iranian crude in 2012, down 35.6% from 87.18 million barrels in 2011.

"South Korea, as a responsible member of the international community, will keep joining efforts towards peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem," the ministry said in a separate statement.

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