South Korea slashes Russian oil imports
May 5, 2022 - South Korea is sharply reducing crude oil imports from Russia, with shipments from the OPEC+ producer plunging by more than 40 per cent in the year to March.
The world’s fifth-biggest crude importer received 85.6 million barrels of crude oil last month, compared with 71.9 million barrels imported a year earlier, data from the Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) shows. The March imports were also up 7.9% from 78.63 million barrels received in February.
In March, South Korea imported 2.98 million barrels of crude oil from Russia, down 43.7% from 5.29 million barrels received a year earlier and marking the lowest monthly shipments in eight months, the KNOC data shows.
According to Manhattan-based financial analytics company S&P Global, South Korean refiners aim to slash Russian crude imports to zero. Crude imports from the U.S. would make up for any gaps left by losing Russian crude. South Korea imported 11.68 million barrels of U.S. crude in March, a 4% year-on-year increase.
S&P Global reports that South Korean refiners paid on average $87.70 per barrel for U.S. crude imported in the first quarter of 2022, lower than $91.30 for Russian oil, $92.57 for Saudi grades and $96.06 for Kuwait crude, according to the KNOC data.
The European Union, the largest buyer of Russian energy, has committed to phasing out the import of Russian oil. In contrast, other Western countries like the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia have all cut out Russian crude.