Seoul stocking up on Iranian crude

May 30, 2012 at 8:34 AM
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SEOUL, May 30 (UPI) -- South Korean imports of crude oil from Iran for April were at their highest levels since late 2011, government figures indicate.

South Korea imported more than 7.5 million barrels of oil from Iran in April, the highest level since November 2011, Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency reports, quoting the Korea National Oil Corp.

The report says Seoul has "shied away" from making official declarations on its decision to cut back on imports of Iranian crude oil.

Early this year, however, South Korea acknowledged it was 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 President Lee Myung-bak had received assurances from Saudi Arabia that the Saudis could help make up for the lack of Iranian crude.

Fars notes South Korea is seeking waivers from the United States to get protection from sanctions against Iran that go into force at the end of June. The U.S. government said it could grant exemptions to country's that voluntarily cut back on Iranian crude oil imports.

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