Jan 10 2012
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Increase in Crude exports to South Korea
National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) handed over about 264,000 bpd of oil to South Korean refineries during the period between Sept. 22-Oct. 22, 2011 and the figure increased to 280,000 bpd in November, Mehr New Agency reported.
NIOC's director for international affairs, Mohesn Qamsari, said Iran supplies crude to two large South Korean refineries.
He said that several large oil vessels carry Iran's crude to South Korea, pointing out that oil exports are expected to continue in 2012.
The official said that no problem exists for South Korean oil payments to Iran. Meanwhile, a report by released by Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) said oil exports to South Korea increased by 48 percent in November 2011.
The report added the growth puts Iran as the second largest crude supplier to the South Asian country. South Korea's total oil imports fell 5.2 percent in November compared to a year ago, reaching 2.44 million bpd.
Based on the report, the figure also revealed an 8.9-percent decline over October 2011, when the country's crude imports amounted to 2.68 million bpd.
Reuters also reported earlier that South Korea will buy around 10 percent of its crude from Iran in 2012, up slightly from last year.
Refineries in the world's fifth-largest oil importer have struck annual deals to buy 200,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude, a little more than the 190,000 bpd in 2011.
The increase in South Korea's oil imports from the Islamic Republic comes as Iran's oil transactions with giant Asian economies continue as before, despite the new US-led sanctions against Iran's oil sector.
South Korea has recently announced that it will buy around 10 percent of its required crude from Iran in 2012, which will be slightly higher than last year.
Ignoring the sanctions, South Korea, which is the world's fifth largest oil importer, is planning to purchase 200,000 bpd of Iranian crude this year, a little more than the 190,000 bpd in 2011.
The United States is mounting pressure on foreign firms to stop buying Iranian crude in a bid to force Tehran to end its nuclear energy program.
On October 31, US President Barak Obama signed into law fresh economic sanctions against Central Bank (CBI) of Iran in an apparent bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution.
The bill requires foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with CBI and oil sector or with the US financial sector.
US sanctions, as well as unilateral embargoes imposed on Iran's energy and financial sectors by Britain and Canada came after the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report on Iranian nuclear program early November, accusing Tehran of seeking to weaponries its nuclear technology.
Tehran argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
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