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SK Energy buys 1st US crude oil in move away from Middle East

August 10/2017

MOSCOW (MRC) South Korea's top refiner SK Energy is buying its first-ever continental US crude oil shipment as producer club OPEC's output cuts raise MidEast prices, giving other suppliers a chance to compete for the world's juiciest oil marketAsia, said Reuters.

One of Asia's biggest fuel importers, SK Energy said it will import 1 MMbbl of US WTI Midland crude in mid-October. The oil will be processed at its 840,000-bpd refinery in Ulsan, about 250 mi southeast of Seoul, showcased in a recent media tour.

The order is dwarfed by SK Energy's overall oil needs of 270 MMbbl/yr, mostly supplied from the Middle East. But it comes as big players in Asian oil imports snap up more US crude since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pledge to rein in output through March 2018 to drain a supply glut and prop up prices.

"Light crude oil has become more economically viable than before and by importing light crude from Kazakhstan, US and Mexico, it helps us boost profits and diversify sources," said Kim Woo-kyung, spokeswoman at the conglomerate SK Innovation Co which owns SK Energy.

Kim said the refiner is also buying more from Mexico and Kazakhstan. "We have decided to import as well 1 MMbbl of Mexico's Isthmus crude," also to arrive at Ulsan in October, she said.

SK Energy received a total of 2 MMbbl of Kazakhstan CPC crude for arrival in late July and early August, Kim said.

Continental US oil exports to South Korea have become more frequent since the United States in 2015 relaxed crude export rules, and have been spurred since the OPEC curbs were announced: GS Caltex, South Korea's No.2 refiner, said last month it bought a total of 3 MMbbl of US crude for AugustOctober delivery.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:petroleum products, petrochemistry, Crude oil, SK Chemicals, SK Corporation, South Korea.
Category:General News
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