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S. Korea’s petrochemical exports hit all-time high in 2017

Exports of refined oil and related petrochemical products by South Korean refiners reached a record high last year on strong demand and higher oil prices, government data showed.

Outbound shipments by SK Innovation Co., GS-Caltex Co., S-Oil Corp., Hyundai Oilbank Co. and others reached 509 million barrels in 2017, up 4.4 percent from a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

In dollar terms the amount of South Korean exports jumped 32.4 percent on-year to $35 billion last year, rising for the fourth consecutive year.

Sales of diesel soared 37.7 percent to 35.4 million barrels last year on brisk demand for ship fuel from Taiwan.

In contrast, exports of naphtha, a raw material used in making plastic, declined 11.2 percent over the period as refiners sold more in the domestic market to meet demand.

Crude oil imports rose 3.7 percent on-year to 1.12 billion barrels in 2017, upstaging the previous all-time high, the ministry said.

Inbound shipments of U.S. crude rose a whopping 448.2 percent to 13.43 million barrels on increased shale oil production and lower prices of West Texas Intermediate, a benchmark oil for North America.

Imports of Kazakhstan crude also skyrocketed 516.3 percent to 26.5 million barrels last year as production began in Kashagan oil field in September 2016. The oil field produces relatively cheaper oil.

As a result, the portion of Middle Eastern oil decreased from 85.9 percent in 2016 to 81.7 percent last year. Oil from Asia and the United States accounted for 8.7 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Source: Yonhap

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