‘S. Korea expected to restart Iran’s oil imports in late Jan. or early Feb.’

January 11, 2019

TEHRAN- South Korea is expected to restart imports of Iranian crude oil in late January or early February, Reuters reported quoting the head of South Korea’s SK Innovation, which owns the country’s biggest oil refiner SK Energy, as saying on Wednesday.

The U.S. launched new sanctions on Iran’s petroleum sector on November 4, but it has granted exemptions to eight countries allowing them to temporarily continue buying Iranian oil.

Among those eight countries was South Korea, one of the major customers of Iranian oil, that won a six-month waiver allowing it to purchase a limited amount of crude from Iran, but the country has not imported any oil from Iran since September.

“As South Korea received a waiver and has been in talks with Iran about the first import volume, it seems (Iran oil) could be brought in late in January or early February at the earliest,” SK Innovation Chief Executive Officer and President Kim Jun told Reuters on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

South Korean and Japanese buyers were expected to restart Iranian oil imports early this year, industry sources said in November. South Korea can buy up to 200,000 barrels per day of Iran oil, mostly condensate, an ultra-light form of crude oil under the waiver, the sources said.

South Korea was the third-biggest buyer of Iranian oil and the largest importer of Iranian condensate before the U.S. sanctions were reimposed in November.

Also as reported by Reuters on Tuesday, Turkey has resumed imports of Iranian crude oil under the U.S. sanctions waiver, according to the trading and shipping sources.

The country restarted oil imports from Iran after a one-month stop in November when U.S. sanctions on Iran were reimposed.

Reuters also reported on Monday that Indian State-run Bharat Petroleum Corp will import 1 million barrels of Iranian oil in February after a gap of three months, with the nation’s overall purchases from Tehran remaining at 9 million barrels, three industry sources said.

The United States in early November granted India a six-month waiver from sanctions on Iran’s oil exports.

MA/MA

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