Crude oil imports from Iran fall more than 40%

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Crude oil imports from Iran fall more than 40%

Korea’s imports of Iranian crude dropped 43.5 percent in July from a year earlier, with buying fading amid looming U.S. sanctions against supply from the Middle Eastern nation.

Korea shipped in 788,651 tons of crude oil from Iran last month, or 186,478 barrels per day (bpd), customs office data showed on Wednesday. That was down from around 1.4 million tons in the same month last year, but up from 686,849 tons this June.

Korean refiners started cutting their Iranian crude purchases after the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States was announced in May.

Initial sanctions, including on Iranian access to the U.S. banking system, went into effect on Aug. 6, with sanctions blocking companies from buying Iranian crude starting in November.

Korean refiners did not plan to load any Iranian crude in July amid pressure from their government and the United States and Korea to comply with the sanctions, which should cut imports for August based on shipping times, sources said last month.

The government has been seeking waivers to the U.S. sanctions.

In the first seven months of the year, Korea’s Iranian crude imports declined to 6.92 million tons, or 239,317 bpd.

That was down 35.1 percent from 10.67 million tons over the same period in 2017, according to the customs data.

In total, Korea, the world’s fifth-largest crude oil importer, shipped in 12.89 million tons of crude in July, or 3.05 million bpd, up 3.6 percent from 12.44 million tons a year earlier.

Oil imports from Russia rose 60.1 percent to 1.18 million tons year-on-year. U.S. crude imports in July were 684,931 tons, compared to no shipments a year earlier.

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