SK unit still on the fence vis-a-vis Iran oil sanctions

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SK unit still on the fence vis-a-vis Iran oil sanctions

SK Innovation, Korea’s largest refiner, said it has not decided whether to stop Iranian crude purchases as part of the U.S. and European Union sanctions against the country.

“Nothing has been determined regarding whether we will stop importing crude from Iran,” Yoo Jung-min, a company spokesman, said yesterday. “We are closely collaborating with the government on the matter.”

Hyundai Oilbank officials declined to comment on its intake of Iranian oil. Korea, which buys most of its crude from overseas, bought 87.2 million barrels from Iran through the two refiners last year.

SK’s energy division buys 10 to 15 percent of its monthly volume from the Persian Gulf country, Jo Eun-kee, head of the company’s corporate planning office, said. Hyundai Oilbank purchased 70,000 barrels a day from Iran in 2011, about one-sixth of its total purchases, according to a spokesman.

The U.S. is scheduled to announce its decision on whether Korea will be exempted from the sanctions by the end of this month, Lee Baek-soo, head of the Korea’s Foreign Ministry’s North American affairs bureau, said earlier this month.

The EU agreed to a phased ban on buying, transporting, financing and insuring Iranian oil on Jan. 23, with full implementation due by July 1.

Korea asked the EU to extend an exemption period for certain insurance contracts on tankers carrying Iranian crude after July 1, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said on May 14.

The government is still waiting for a response from the EU while mapping out measures related to the insurance stoppage, the ministry said.


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