The Korea Petroleum Association announced on January 25 that the four largest South Korean oil refiners – SK Energy, GS Caltex, S-Oil and Hyundai Oil Bank – recorded a total oil product export of 455.246 million barrels last year, up 0.7% from a year ago, to reach an all-time high. The export rose for the fourth consecutive year.
Still, the value of the export fell 20% year on year to US$22.70637 billion due to low oil prices. The four companies recorded a crude oil import of US$40.2 billion last year and the ratio of their oil product exports to their crude oil imports has remained around 50% for years.
The number of countries to which those products were export increased from 55 to 66 between 2014 and 2015 and to 67 last year. 19% of the exported products were shipped to China and it was followed by Singapore (16%), Australia (10%), Japan (9%) and Taiwan (6%) and the United States (6%). Diesel fuel accounted for 37% of the products, followed by jet fuel (21%), gasoline (16%) and naphtha (10%). The diesel fuel export to China soared by approximately 270% from 2.75 million barrels to 10.12 million barrels between 2015 and 2016.
“This year, the export is estimated to exceed US$30 billion, led by an increase in oil price, in spite of some risk factors such as the spread of trade protectionism and diesel fuel import from China,” the association explained.