Exports of petrochemical products by South Korean refiners reached an all-time high last year with China becoming the biggest importer of Korean oil products amid recovering oil demand, data showed on Wednesday.
According to Korea Petroleum Association on Wednesday, SK Energy Co., GS Caltex Co., S-Oil Corp., Hyundai Oilbank Co., and other Korean refiners together exported a record high 472.3 million barrels of oil and petrochemical goods in 2017, up 4.3 percent from the previous year. The volume has increased for a fourth consecutive year last year, replacing the previous all-time high of 452.97 million barrels marked in 2016.
Last year, Korean refiners exported petrochemical goods to 58 countries, showed the data. Exports to China accounted for the largest 20.3 percent of total shipments, followed by Australia with 11.9 percent, Singapore with 11.7 percent, Japan with 8.9 percent and Taiwan with 8.6 percent. It is the first time for delivery of Korean petrochemical products to Australia to exceed that of Singapore as the country has been expanding oil product imports to cover demand from worn-out refinement facilities.
By type, diesel accounted for the largest 36 percent share of total oil product exports, followed by air fuel with 21.3 percent, gasoline with 16.9 percent and naphtha with 9.4 percent.
By value, Korean refiners exported $30.1 billion worth of petrochemical products last year, up 33 percent from a year ago, on the back of rising oil prices. Oil and related goods ranked sixth major export item of Korea last year, moving up two notches from a year ago in export product category ranking announced by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
An unnamed official from the Korea Petroleum Association said both volume and value of oil and related exports are expected to expand this year from last year on the back of rising international oil prices and increase in global demand for petrochemical goods. Korean refiners plan to expand facility investment to meet new global standards for environmental regulations, search for new export destinations such as Vietnam and the Philippines, and diversify oil items.
By Kang Doo-soon and Lee Eun-joo
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