[Photo by SK Innovation]
SK Energy, the largest oil refiner in Korea, has signed up to import crude oil from the United States, joining the state-recommended guideline to diversify fuel supply source away from the Middle East and help to increase commodity imports from the U.S. amid pressure from Washington to address trade deficits.
According to sources on Wednesday, SK Energy, the petrochemical subsidiary of SK Innovation, signed a contract last month to import 1 million barrel crude oil from the U.S.
The first batch of U.S. oil will be shipped this month and arrive in Korea in October along with 1 million barrels of Mexican oil for SK Energy.
“There will be no tariff on U.S. oil under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade agreement (FTA) and the delivery juxtaposition with Mexican crude will cut shipment costs, making the price of U.S. oil competitive,” said SK Energy.
Earlier, GS Caltex imported 2 million barrels of U.S. oil for two months late last year, while Hyundai Oilbank contracted in April to secure 2 million barrels of U.S. oil in the first half of this year. S-Oil, the Korean operation of Saudi Aramco, is less likely to import U.S. oil because it is dependent on the Saudi state-owned oil giant.
South Korea’s import of U.S. oil ballooned 664.5 percent on year to 3.1 million barrels in the first six months, according to government data.
By Hwang Hyung-gyu
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]