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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9220
JPY
USD
119.88
GBP
USD
0.6757
CAD
USD
1.2640
INR
USD
62.626

Rates may not be current.