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S. Korea's oil imports from Middle East fall to lowest in 15 yrs

All News 18:59 December 30, 2017

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's imports of crude oil from the Middle East dropped to the lowest level in 15 years in November, as the country tried to diversify its oil supply channels, the state-run oil corporation said Saturday.

According to the data by the Korea National Oil Corp., South Korea imported 69.01 million barrels from the Middle East in November, accounting for 72.9 percent of its total oil purchases in the month.

The ratio marked the lowest since October 2002, when the corresponding figure fell to 71.6 percent. It was also down from the 85.7 percent tallied in the same month of the previous year, the data showed.

The drop is attributable in part to price hikes in Middle East oil, which led South Korea to seek alternative supply channels.

The country's oil purchases from Asia and Africa made up 12.7 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, in November, up from 5.5 percent and 1.7 percent registered a year earlier.

In particular, oil imports from the United States spiked to 4 million barrels in November, which represented 4.2 percent of the total, up from 1.1 percent the year before, the data showed.

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