South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest oil importer, increased purchases of crude by 13.2 percent in February.
Imports rose to 80.1 million barrels in February from 70.7 million a year earlier, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mailed statement today, without giving reasons for the rise. The nation’s crude-import bill increased 34.6 percent to $9.4 billion as prices rose 18.9 percent to an average $117 a barrel, it said.
South Korea, which imports almost all of its oil, urged companies and individuals in November to save energy, including by cutting back on heating. The country’s largest companies, which account for 30 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption, pledged to reduce use by 5 percent a year after South Korea imposed rolling blackouts in September for the first time since 2001.
The cost of natural-gas imports doubled to $4.15 billion in February from a year ago, while coal costs gained 18.2 percent to $1.58 billion, according to the ministry.