Oil price crisis: South Korea have banned Iranian oil
For the first time in six years, South Korea have rejected all shipments of Iranian crude and condensate – with the ban to continue until at least September.
The move by South Korea, one of Iran’s main customers in Asia along with China and Japan, comes as it is in talks to seek an exemption from US curbs on buying Iranian oil, in line with a waiver it received during previous sanctions.
One source familiar with Iranian shipping arrangements told Reuters: “There was pressure from the South Korean government to halt purchases.
“South Korea overall is lifting zero oil for July loading.”
Two other sources said South Korea cancelled July loadings of crude and condensate cargoes from Iran as it was uncertain whether the country would receive an exemption from U.S. sanctions on Iran trade.
The cancellations mean South Korea will import no Iranian oil in August, the first month of zero imports since August 2012 when South Korean buyers put Iranian oil purchases on hold before getting a waiver to import limited amounts of Iran crude.
The United States in May said it was walking away from an international deal on Iran’s nuclear programme. In late June, it demanded its allies halt all imports of Iranian oil from November and said exemptions were unlikely.
South Korean refiners have since curtailed their Iranian oil purchases and turned to alternative sources such as American and African crude due to expensive Middle East grades and uncertainty over trade with Iran.
Oil prices could hit triple figures as the US and Iran go head-to-head
It comes amid fears the price of oil could soar to triple digits – sending petrol prices through the roof.
However Iran claims this price surge is solely due to US president Donald Trump.
ranian OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said Mr Trump “should have expected” when blocking Iran’s access to the global markets that it would end up as “hostage to Saudi Arabia and Russia”, who he said had little vested interest in bringing down prices.
He said: “The responsibility of paying unnecessary prices for oil by all consumers of the whole world, especially in U.S. gas stations, is solely upon Trump’s shoulders and the price of over $100 per barrel is yet to come.”