Platts, Seoul, Feb 15, 2011
South Korea's imports of crude oil in 2010 increased 4.5% from the previous year to 872.4 million barrels, or 2.39 million b/d, but its bills surged 35.4% to $68.7 billion due to higher international prices, the energy ministry said Tuesday.
The country paid $50.7 billion in 2009 to import 835.1 million barrels of crude.
South Korea also imported 276.8 million barrels of refined oil products last year, up 3.2% from 2009, and its bills jumped 40.8% to $20.9 billion, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, responsible for energy, industry and commerce.
"The country paid a total of $89.6 billion to import crude and refined products last year, up 36.8% from $65.5 billion in 2009," the ministry said in a statement. "The country imported more crude oil to meet demand from refiners for local consumption and exports of oil products," it said.
South Korea bought 277 million barrels of crude, or 31.7%, of its total imports, from Saudi Arabia last year, and 106 million barrels, or 12.1%, from the United Arab Emirates. It also imported 103 million barrels, or 11.8%, from Kuwait, 73 million barrels, or 8.3%, from Iran, 64 million barrels, or 7.4%, from Qatar and 60 million, or 6.9%, from Iraq. Imports from Iran fell 10.8% from the previous year amid international sanctions.
South Korea exported 391.1 million barrels of oil products last year, up 3.9% from 376.4 million barrels in 2009, and earned $33.8 billion, up 32.8% [sic] from $25.5 billion in 2009.
The country exported $11.75 billion worth diesel last year, up 35.1% from 2009, $6.34 billion worth of jet fuel, up 31.4%, and $3.48 billion worth of gasoline, up 22.9%. A total of 77 million barrels, or 22.5% [sic] of its total exports, were shipped to China, followed by 41 million barrels, or 11.9%, each to Japan and Singapore.
The country produced 938.9 million barrels of oil products last year, up 2.9% from 912.6 million barrels in 2009, including 268.4 million barrels of diesel, 111.8 billion barrels of gasoline, and 122.5 million barrels of Bunker C oil.
The country's top refiner SK Innovation, formerly SK Energy, produced 339.5 million barrels of oil products last year, up 5.1% from 2009. The second-biggest refiner GS Caltex's production increased 6.6% to 270.9 million barrels. But production by S-Oil and Hyundai Oilbank fell 2.0% and 1.8% to 198.4 million barrels and 124.5 million barrels, respectively, due to maintenance.
The country domestically consumed 794.5 million barrels of oil products in 2010, up 2.1% from the previous year's 778.5 million barrels, according to the ministry.
It consumed 134.7 million barrels of diesel last year, up 1.8% from 2009, and 68.9 million barrels of gasoline, up 4.6%. Its consumption of kerosene rose 13.1% to 29.4 million barrels, while Bunker C consumption fell 5.9% to 62.1 million barrels due to more use of LNG in power generation, according to the ministry. [Full story]
(With no domestic oil reserves, South Korea must import all of its crude oil. South Korea is home to three of the ten largest crude oil refineries in the world -- SK Energy's Ulsan, GS Caltex's Yeosu and S-Oil's Onsan---please see list of largest oil refineries in the world, here. In 2009, South Korea ranked sixth among the world's Top 10 net oil importers behind the United States, China, Japan, Germany and India---please see EIA graphic, here. Also, although South Korea is not among the group of top gas-consuming nations, it is the world's second largest importer of LNG after Japan. For South Korea's LNG imports in 2010, please see here. -- D.R.)