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

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7492
JPY
USD
102.27
GBP
USD
0.5960
CAD
USD
1.0950
INR
USD
61.300

Rates may not be current.