Hyundai Oilbank Co., a major South Korean refiner, plans to import 2 million barrels of Iranian condensate this month, a person familiar with the issue said Monday.
It would be Hyundai Oilbank’s first imports of ultralight crude since September, two months before the United States imposed the most biting sanctions ever on Iran. US President Donald Trump abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May.
Still, the US has allowed South Korea and seven other countries to continue to buy Iranian oil over the next six months.
South Korea is the third-largest buyer of Iranian oil.
Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co. -- a 50-50 joint-venture between Hanwha General Chemical Co. and French energy giant Total -- also plans to import condensate from Iran in February, a company official said.
He declined to elaborate on the amount of shipments, citing policy.
The company last imported Iranian condensate in July last year, when it brought in 2 million barrels.
The South Korean refiners and chemical firms had relied heavily on Iranian condensate for production of various petrochemical products thanks to a stable supply and price competitiveness.
Iranian condensate accounted for as much as 59 percent of South Korea’s imports of the oil in April last year before dropping to the 30 percent range between May and August.
Naphtha, a key raw material for petrochemicals, is derived from condensate.
SK Trading International Co., a subsidiary of South Korea’s biggest oil refiner, SK Innovation Co., also plans to import Iranian condensate in February, though it did not provide details.
In January, SK Trading International brought 2 million barrels of Iranian condensate. (Yonhap)