Purchases last month were 793,361 metric tons, equivalent to about 188,000 barrels a day, compared with 639,281 tons a year earlier, according to data posted on the Korea Customs Service’s website today. The volume dropped from 814,797 tons in November, the data showed.
South Korea halted imports of Iranian crude in August and September after the start of a European Union ban on insurance coverage for tankers carrying oil from the Persian Gulf nation. The injunction was a part of sanctions by Western countries intended to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear program, which the U.S. and Israel say is aimed at developing atomic weapons.
South Korean refiners SK Innovation Co. (096770) and Hyundai Oilbank Co. resumed shipments after Iran offered its own vessels.
Imports from Iran fell 37 percent from 2011 to 7.79 million tons in 2012, according to the customs data. That was the equivalent of 6 percent of its total purchases.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sangim Han in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.org