TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - South Korea’s Embassy in Tehran in a message on Twitter said Seoul had yet made no decision regarding its imports of oil from the Islamic Republic.
It added that a recent plunge in imports of oil was a result of the performance of private companies, stressing that it involved no governmental decision.
This followed a report on Monday that South Korea’s imports of oil from Iran had seen a dramatic decline of 86.5 percent in August compared to the same period last year.
Reports cited official figures as showing that the country had imported 232,723 million tonnes (1.71 million barrels or 55,161 barrels per day) of Iranian crude, including condensate, in August. The figure was drastically lower than 12.63 million barrels imported in the same month last year.
This marks the 10th consecutive decline since November last year when imports fell 26.8 percent year on year to 10.37 million barrels, according to Platts energy news service.
The volume of 1.71 million barrels was the smallest monthly imports since September 2012 when South Korea purchased no cargoes from Iran amid US-led sanctions on Iran.
The August imports were also down 72.4 percent from 6.20 million barrels in July, Platts added.
The data is based on customs clearance and there can be a time discrepancy between clearance and actual arrival of the goods, according to customs officials.
Final oil trade data for August will be released later this month by state-run Korea National Oil Corp.
In August, South Korea had announced that it had held two rounds of consultations with the US to receive Iran sanctions waivers.
The media in Seoul quoted the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as saying in a statement that the negotiations would continue until November, when US sanctions targeting Iran's crude exports would become effective.
South Korea relies on Iran for 13 percent of its imported oil, making Tehran its third crude supplier following Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
In 2017, the South purchased 147 million barrels of Iranian oil.
The first round of sanctions, which mainly targets Iran's financial, automotive, aviation and metals sectors, was re-imposed in early August. The second round, which will hit the Iranian oil industry and banking relations, is slated for November 4.
Market analysts have warned that the oil sanctions could sharply increase the global oil prices, even above $150, if Iran’s supplies of around 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) are disrupted.