South Korea doubles Iran oil imports
South Korea has doubled its oil imports from Iran after major nuclear negotiations last month raised hopes of a possible lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The country shipped 134,857 barrels per day of Iranian crude oil in March which totaled 570,338 tonnes, official figures showed.
South Korea is among major clients of Iran’s crude oil in Asia along with China, Japan and India.
The countries must keep purchases around one million barrels per day as part of a preliminary agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.
South Korea’s imports of Iranian oil averaged 114,115 bpd in the first quarter of this year against 136,281 bpd in the same period the year before, the data showed.
China was the biggest importer in the league, raising shipments from Iran by 30% to their highest level since 2011.
The country bought 549,250 bpd of Iranian oil and condensate in 2014.
Iran is gearing up for a return to oil markets at the normal capacity before sanctions were intensified against the country in 2012.
On Tuesday, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said OPEC member states should make room for Iran once the country returns to normal supply levels.
He called on the organization to cut output by five percent.
“Even the most conservative OPEC member states do not believe that OPEC production should exceed 30 million barrels per day and we believe that this amount should be cut by at least 5 percent,” Zangeneh said.
OPEC decided to keep production steady at a November meeting under pressure from Saudi Arabia despite a slump in oil prices which have plunged 50% since June 2014.