News / Economy

Sources: South Korea to Cut Iran Oil Imports 15 Percent

The Phase 4 and Phase 5 oil and gas refineries are seen in Assalouyeh, Iran, January 2011.The Phase 4 and Phase 5 oil and gas refineries are seen in Assalouyeh, Iran, January 2011.
x
The Phase 4 and Phase 5 oil and gas refineries are seen in Assalouyeh, Iran, January 2011.
The Phase 4 and Phase 5 oil and gas refineries are seen in Assalouyeh, Iran, January 2011.
Reuters
South Korea has pledged to the United States that it will cut imports of Iranian crude by 15 percent in the next six months to secure its next waiver to U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear program, two sources told Reuters.

U.S. and European measures aimed at curbing Iran's oil shipments and depriving Tehran of its main source of funds drove crude exports to the lowest in decades in May. The curbs have cost Iran billions of dollars in lost revenue and Washington is now seeking to cut Iran's exports further via tighter sanctions.

Earlier this month, Washington renewed a six-month exemption on sanctions for China, India, South Korea and six other economies in exchange for their agreeing to reduce purchases of oil from Iran. The exemptions will next come up for review in November, and any country failing to achieve a waiver is liable for sanctions that exclude its banks from the U.S. financial system.

South Korea's government has instructed refiners to make the import cuts, the two sources familiar with the plan said, after meetings between U.S. and South Korean officials.

“The refiners have been unofficially told [by the government] to reduce imports in the next six months by 15 percent compared to the previous six months,” said one of the sources.

The second source confirmed the plan. Both declined to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to media.

The cut would leave South Korean refiners importing slightly less than 126,000 barrels per day (bpd) over the six months to November, according to Reuters calculation based on data from state-run Korea National Oil Corp.

Imports from Iran to South Korea for December to May stood at 148,016 bpd, down 20 percent from a year ago.

Officials at South Korea's energy ministry, foreign affairs ministry and the presidential office declined to comment.

South Korean refiners SK Energy and Hyundai Oilbank are the only two in the country to import Iranian crude. Spokesmen at both refiners declined to comment.

Iran's diminishing exports

The cut is being made against the previous six months rather than from a year earlier because South Korea's oil imports between June and November last year were low due to a two-month import halt due to insurance problems, one of the sources said.

For part of last year, a European ban on Iranian oil shipping insurance made it hard for South Korean refiners to find ships to import Iranian oil, resulting in a drop in imports to 115,245 bpd between June and November of 2012.

Iranian oil imports to South Korea resumed from October of 2012 as Iran offered its own ships to transport the oil.

Sanctions are one of Washington's main strategies to choke funding to Iran's nuclear program. Western countries suspect Tehran aims to develop weapons, while Iran says the program is for peaceful purposes.

U.S. lawmakers aim to deal a bigger blow to Iran's diminishing oil exports. While they are still working out the details, analysts say the ultimate goal could be a near total halt.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.