South Korea resumes Iran crude oil imports
South Korea has resumed the Iranian oil imports announcing that the shipment will be made using an Iranian tanker under the Iranian insurance cover.
A crude cargo of 2 million barrels, which was lifted last week by South Korea's SK Energy, fully owned by SK Innovation, is now heading to Seoul, Reuters reported on Friday.
"We lifted the Iranian crude oil cargo early last week, and it is scheduled to arrive at the end of this month or early next month," SK Innovation spokesman, Yoo Jung-min said.
The official stated that, "The shipment is made via an Iranian tanker under Iranian insurance cover.”
The report also quoted an unnamed source at the South Korean Economy Ministry as saying that SK Energy is set to lift another 2 million barrels in Iran later this month, while another refiner, Hyundai Oilbank, will also lift 2 million barrels this week or next.
The move comes following the comments by the South Korean Economy Ministry sources last month that the country plans to resume imports of up to 200,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude starting from September.
An unnamed South Korean source said on August 8 that the Iranian side and local oil refineries were discussing potential use of Iranian oil tankers for the exports.
Iran proposed last month that South Korean oil refiners use Tehran's own oil tankers, a move that would allow them to receive crude shipments without concerns over insurance guarantees.
At the beginning of 2012, the US and the European Union (EU) approved new sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors to prevent other countries from purchasing the Iranian oil or transacting with the Central Bank of Iran.
Washington and the EU have declared that the bans are meant to force Iran to abandon its nuclear energy program, which they claim to include a military component.
Iran has vehemently refuted the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to use the nuclear technology for peaceful objectives.