Kuwait remained South Korea's number two crude oil supplier in May, with its shipments jumping 57.3 percent from a year earlier to 13.29 million barrels, or 429,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to latest data released by the state-run Korea National Oil Corporation.
Kuwait provided 16.1 percent of South Korea's total crude oil imports in May, compared to an 11.7 percent share in the same month of 2011 and 13.2 percent in April.
Overall South Korea's crude oil imports last month increased 13.9 percent year-on-year to 82.42 million barrels (2.66 million bpd). South Korea, with its heavy industrial base, is the world's fifth-biggest oil importer.
Saudi Arabia was its top crude supplier, with imports from the kingdom rising 22.0 percent from a year earlier to 894,000 bpd. The United Arab Emirates ranked third with 295,000 bpd, up 5.8 percent, followed by and Qatar and Iran.
South Korea's imports of Iranian crude oil plunged 39.5 percent on the year to 128,000 bpd, in its effort to avoid US financial sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear program.
Earlier this month, Washington exempted seven countries - India, Malaysia, South Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan - from financial sanctions in return for significantly reducing purchases of Iranian oil. South Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy said on Tuesday that the country will be forced to halt oil imports from Iran due to European Union sanctions that will ban insurance on Iranian oil shipments from July 1, according to Yonhap News Agency.
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