South Korea imported natural gas liquids from Iran for the second straight month in April, customs data showed on Wednesday, though a source with direct knowledge of the matter said it was part of a delayed shipment from an earlier contract, as per Reuters.
Imports into South Korea of Iranian natural gas liquids were halted last July because of EU sanctions restricting insurance on tankers carrying Iranian oil, but South Korea's Samsung Total Petrochemicals (STC) concluded a spot deal earlier this year lured by cheap fuel.
South Korea, the world's fifth-largest crude oil and second-largest liquefied natural gas importer, purchased a total of 136,604 tons of natural gas liquids last month, with 77,254 tons coming from Iran, the customs data showed. The shipment compared with 72,750 tons imported in March. There were no imports a year ago. South Korea bought 464,963 tons of natural gas liquids last year. Of the total, 372,203 tons came from Iran and the rest from the United Arab Emirates, according to customs data.
The resumption of Iranian imports of natural gas liquids had been expected after Samsung Total Petrochemicals in January revived a contract. The French half-owner of the joint venture, Total, later said it objected to the deal, and there was only one spot deal. The company took the full Iranian volumes for the two months, as per sources. The United States and the EU have imposed sanctions aimed at halting Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is being used to develop arms. Tehran says its program is only for peaceful purposes.