Iraq gives oil assurances to South Korea

March 16, 2012 at 7:32 AM
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BAGHDAD, March 16 (UPI) -- The Iraqi government gave assurances to South Korea that it could cover an oil shortage if sanctions against Iran disrupted supplies, Seoul said.

In response to Western sanctions on Tehran, South Korea is looking to replace the 10 percent of its crude oil that it gets from Iran. South Korea depends on imports to meet its entire demand for oil.

South Korean officials said they received assurances from Iran after meetings in the Baghdad between South Korean Vice Energy Minister Cho Seok and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani.

"The two sides concurred that 250,000 barrels of crude per day can be allocated to cover shortfalls if an emergency situation occurs," the South Korean government was quoted by the country's Yonhap news agency as saying.

Seoul had asked Iraqi officials for oil assurances during talks in South Korea in February. Korea Gas Corp. is working on exploration projects in Iraq.

South Korea already received assurances from Saudi Arabia that the Saudis could help make up for the lack of Iranian crude. South Korean energy company S-Oil announced in February it signed a 20-year crude oil supply agreement with the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco.

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