* Nov Iranian crude imports down 25.2 pct to nearly 1.3 mln
* Jan-Nov oil imports from Iran up 36.5 pct from yr ago
* Imports from Saudi Arabia at 3.26 mln T, down abt 13 pct
* Nov total crude imports at 12.56 mln T, up 2.4 pct y/y
(Adds details, background)
By Jane Chung
SEOUL, Dec 15 (Reuters) - South Korea's Iranian crude oil
imports in November dropped to the lowest level since June, due
to reduced shipments from the Middle Eastern country to Asia
affected by its production issues.
South Korea's November imports from Iran were around 1.3
million tonnes, or 316,575 barrels per day (bpd), customs data
showed on Friday. The import volume was 25.2 percent lower from
1.73 million tonnes from a year earlier, and 21.6 percent down
South Korea, one of Iran's major Asian buyers, mainly buys
an ultra-light oil, also known as condensate, but the crude oil
data usually includes condensate without a breakdown of the
Iran has stepped up its oil output to regain its lost market
share since sanctions were lifted last year. But its condensate
exports had been dented due to a "technical problem" at the
South Pars field, with maintenance likely to take for 1-2
Nevertheless, Iran continues to retain its major Asian oil
customers by offering spot cargoes and setting December prices
at the lowest against Saudi light and heavy grades to make its
oil products competitive.
South Korea's oil imports from Iran in the first 11 months
of this year jumped 36.5 percent to nearly 17 million tonnes, or
372,890 bpd, compared with 12.45 million tonnes over the same
period last year, according to the customs data.
The world's No.5 crude importer's crude imports in November
totalled 12.56 million tonnes, or 3.07 million bpd, up 2.4
percent from 12.26 million tonnes from a year earlier, the data
South Korea's imports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia were
down about 13 percent to 3.26 million tonnes in November, or
797,036 bpd, from a year ago as the de facto leader of the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is
committed to the OPEC-led oil supply cut deal to erode a global
oil glut and drive up prices.
In January-November of 2017, Korea's crude oil imports
increased 3.7 percent to 135.51 million tonnes, or 2.97 million
bpd, versus 130.71 million tonnes during the same period last
Final data for South Korea's November crude imports data is
set to be released by state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC)
later this month.
(Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Michael Perry)
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