South Korea’s SK Energy will import 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil this year under a term contract with Iran, up 10,000 bpd from a year earlier, a government source said on Wednesday.
South Korea is the world’s fifth-largest crude importer and buys around 10 percent of its oil from Iran. The small increase in purchases from Iran comes despite fresh U.S. sanctions that if enforced would make it difficult for SK Energy to pay Iran for its oil.
An SK spokesman declined to comment when asked about the deal.
A second South Korean refiner Hyundai Oilbank has struck a deal to import 70,000 bpd of Iranian crude in 2012, unchanged from 2011, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.
Of four refiners in South Korea, only SK Energy and Hyundai Oilbank import crude from Iran.