South Korea’s Imports of Iranian Crude Oil Fall 17% in March

South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest oil importer, reduced crude shipments from Iran by about 17 percent in March from a year earlier, customs data show.

Purchases last month were 556,658 metric tons, compared with 668,706 tons a year earlier, according to data on the Korea Customs Service’s website today. The volume was 550,827 tons in February, the figures showed. The March deliveries were equivalent to about 132,000 barrels a day.

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 the Islamic republic to stop its nuclear program, which the U.S. and Israel say is aimed at developing atomic weapons and Iran says is for civilian purposes.

South Korea resumed crude shipments from Iran in October after the Persian Gulf nation offered its own vessels for transporting the commodity.

Imports from the Islamic republic fell 22 percent to 1.92 million tons in the first three months of this year from 2.46 million a year earlier, according to the customs data. The January-March imports were the equivalent of about 6 percent of Korea’s total crude purchases of 31.42 million tons during the three months, the data show.

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