South Korea’s November Iran crude oil imports fall to 5-month low

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Updated 15 December 2017
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South Korea’s November Iran crude oil imports fall to 5-month low

SEOUL: South Korea’s Iranian crude oil imports in November dropped to the lowest level since June, due to reduced shipments from the Middle Eastern country to Asia affected by its production issues.
South Korea’s November imports from Iran were around 1.3 million tons, or 316,575 barrels per day (bpd), customs data showed on Friday. The import volume was 25.2 percent lower from 1.73 million tons from a year earlier, and 21.6 percent down from October.
South Korea, one of Iran’s major Asian buyers, mainly buys an ultra-light oil, also known as condensate, but the crude oil data usually includes condensate without a breakdown of the imports.
Iran has stepped up its oil output to regain its lost market share since sanctions were lifted last year. But its condensate exports had been dented due to a “technical problem” at the South Pars field, with maintenance likely to take for 1-2 months.
Nevertheless, Iran continues to retain its major Asian oil customers by offering spot cargoes and setting December prices at the lowest against Saudi light and heavy grades to make its oil products competitive.
South Korea’s oil imports from Iran in the first 11 months of this year jumped 36.5 percent to nearly 17 million tons, or 372,890 bpd, compared with 12.45 million tons over the same period last year, according to the customs data.
The world’s No.5 crude importer’s crude imports in November totalled 12.56 million tons, or 3.07 million bpd, up 2.4 percent from 12.26 million tons from a year earlier, the data showed.
South Korea’s imports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia were down about 13 percent to 3.26 million tons in November, or 797,036 bpd, from a year ago as the de facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is committed to the OPEC-led oil supply cut deal to erode a global oil glut and drive up prices.
In January-November of 2017, Korea’s crude oil imports increased 3.7 percent to 135.51 million tons, or 2.97 million bpd, versus 130.71 million tons during the same period last year.
Final data for South Korea’s November crude imports data is set to be released by state-run Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) later this month.


Saudi Aramco to invest in refinery-petrochemical project in east China

Updated 18 October 2018
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Saudi Aramco to invest in refinery-petrochemical project in east China

  • This is the third such project in China that Saudi Aramco has set its sight on
  • Last month, Saudi Aramco signed a long-term deal with the Zhejiang project’s operator Zhejiang Rongsheng to supply crude oil

ZHOUSHAN, China/SINGAPORE: State oil giant Saudi Aramco signed an agreement on Thursday to invest in a refinery-petrochemical project in eastern China, part of its strategy to expand in downstream operations globally.
The memorandum of understanding between the company and Zhejiang province included plans to invest in a new refinery and co-operate in crude oil supply, storage and trading, according to details released by the Zhoushan government after a signing ceremony in the city south of Shanghai.
Zhejiang Petrochemical, 51 percent owned by textile giant Zhejiang Rongsheng Holding Group, is building a 400,000-barrels-per-day refinery and associated petrochemical facilities that was expected to start operations by the end of this year.
This is the third such project in China that Saudi Aramco has set its sight on as it seeks to lock in long-term outlets for its crude oil and produce fuel and petrochemicals to meet rising demand in Asia and cushion the risk of a slowdown in oil consumption.
Last month, Saudi Aramco signed a long-term deal with the Zhejiang project’s operator Zhejiang Rongsheng to supply crude oil.
The oil giant had not yet finalized the size of its stake in the project and still needed to complete due diligence, Aramco’s Senior Vice President of Downstream, Abdulaziz Al-Judaimi, said on the sidelines of the event.
Saudi Aramco expects to supply 170,000 barrels per day of Saudi crude to the refinery in Zhoushan when it starts operations, he said.
The first crude carrier supplying the refinery should arrive in December or January, depending on when the project starts, he added.
Aramco also owns part of the Fujian refinery-petrochemical plant with Sinopec and Exxon Mobil Corp, and has plans to build a 300,000-bpd refinery with China’s Norinco. It is also in talks with PetroChina to invest in a refinery in Yunnan.