The latest official figures show that South Korea’s imports of oil from Iran rose by about 54 percent in February from a year ago.
South Korea’s customs data show that the country in February imported 1.63 million metric tons (MMt) of Iranian crude, or 427,800 barrels per day (bpd).
The figure was significantly higher from 1.06 MMt a year ago and 1.79 MMt the previous month, Reuters reported.
Figures also showed that the world's fifth-largest crude importer shipped in 3.43 MMt of Iranian crude, or 425,878 bpd, in the first two months of 2017. This was up 78.2 percent from the 1.92 MMt imported during the same period a year ago.
Meanwhile, South Korea's imports of oil from Saudi Arabia fell 3.1 percent to 3.61 MMt, or 944,793 bpd, last month from a year ago, Reuters added.
The rise in Iran’s oil sales to South Korea came as the member countries of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started to implement a plan to curb production by about 1.2 million bpd from the start of January.
The plan was devised to boost prices and remove a supply glut. Iran, Libya and Nigeria were, however, granted exemptions from the deal.
South Korea imported 11.85 MMt of crude oil in February this year, or 3.1 MMbpd, down 8.3 percent from 12.92 MMt a year ago, according to the customs data.
The country shipped in 24.3 MMt of crude in the January-February period, or 3.01 MMbpd, up 1.9 percent from nearly 23.8 MMt a year earlier, Reuters added.