Helped by revived global oil market activity, South Korea’s manufacturing and trade in petroleum-related products hit all-time high last year, data showed.
According to data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday, Korea’s exports of petroleum products rose 4.4 percent on year to record high of 509 million barrels in 2017. Value in the exports also surged 32.4 percent to $35 billion.
Jet fuel exports increased due to brisk demand in flight travels. Diesel exports to Taiwan for shipping fuel rose to 35.4 million barrels last year from 25.7 million from a year ago.
Refined gasoline shipments increased to Southeast Asian countries, Japan and the United States, according to data. Naptha exports fell about 11.2 percent on year because of strong demand at home.
Because of animated activity in petrochemical production, crude oil imports rose 3.7 percent on year to fresh record high of 1.12 billion barrels. Imports from the U.S. jumped 448.2 percent to 13.43 million barrels as shale gas imports were cheaper than Middle East produces and also because the government promoted U.S. imports as a scheme to reduce trade deficit amid mounting trade pressure from Washington.
Korea also has been diversifying its crude sourcing to lessen dependency on the volatile Middle Eastern producers. Korea imported 26.5 million barrels in the crude produced from the Kashagan offshore oil field in Kazakhstan last year, up 516.3 percent from a year ago. Imports from the Middle East fell to take up an 81.7 percent share in the total, while those from Asia and America rose to 8.7 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.
By Ko Jae-man and Lee Ha-yeon
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