South Korea's imports of crude oil from the United States and Mexico is expected to hit the highest level this year since 1988.
According to Petronet of Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) on Dec. 30, Korea's imports of American crude oil stood at 10,675,000 barrels in November, accounting for 11.2 percent of the nation's total imports of 95,328,000 barrels. American crude oil took up more than 10 percent of the total for the second month in a row as their share reached 10.92 percent in October.
The cumulative share of American crude oil imports came to 7.82 percent in November this year, about twice as high as 4 percent recorded in 2017 and the highest in 30 years after recording 9.1 percent in 1988.
On the other hand, the proportion of Middle Eastern crude oil imports stood at 74.2 percent as of November, recording the 70 percent level for the first time in 14 years after 78.2 percent in 2004.
The proportion of American crude oil imports recently surged due to lower prices. In fact, the price of Dubai crude oil is US$53.95 (60,262 won) per barrel on average this month. However, the average price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is US$45.61 (50,946 won) per barrel.
If the price gap between Dubai crude oil and WTI remains at the current level, the proportion of American crude oil imports is forecast to continuously rise. However, the outlook on next year’s oil prices is uncertain as international oil prices has recently fluctuated.