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Iran Boosts S. Korea Oil Market Share While Saudis Cut

Iran

Iran continues to raise market share in Asia, with crude sales to South Korea increasing by 26.5 percent on the year in July, while Saudi Arabia’s oil sales to Seoul declined on an annual basis, according to Korean customs data, as reported by Reuters.

South Korea’s imports of Iranian oil–most of which is the ultra-light condensate—increased to 1.40 million tons last month, equal to 330,151 bpd, compared to 1.10 million tons imported from Iran in July last year.

At the same time, South Korea’s purchases of Saudi Arabian crude oil dropped by 9.3 percent to 873,656 bpd last month, according to customs data cited by Reuters.

Seoul’s purchases of Iranian oil soared by 47.7 percent between January and July, to 10.67 million tons, or 368,952 bpd, up from 7.22 million tons of Iranian crude imports in the first seven months last year.

Under the OPEC production cut deal, Iran—the cartel’s no.3 producer--is not cutting output. Saudi Arabia—the no.1 producer and Iran’s bitter regional rival--is shouldering most of the cuts. Iran is thus looking to regain shares of the market it lost in the five years under Western sanctions on its oil trade.

As early as January this year, Iran was set to boost market share in South Korea at the expense of Saudi Arabia. South Korea doubled its imports of Iranian crude in January from the same time last year, when Iran returned to the international oil market and started exporting growing amounts of oil in a bid to regain lost market share.

For this month, South Korea is expected to be Iranian oil’s second-biggest customer behind China. At the same time, however, India is said to be scaling back imports from Tehran, while Iran is set to boost its exports to China to an 11-month high.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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