The Korea Petroleum Association announced on Oct. 24 that four local oil refining companies exported 127.23 million barrels of petroleum products in the third quarter of this year, down 1.1 percent from a year ago. The combined export volume fell for the second consecutive quarter after a 5.7 percent decline in the previous quarter.
The combined export volume for the first three quarters of this year added up to 362.53 million barrels with a year-on-year decline of 0.8 percent and the increase in export volume that started in 2014 stopped in six years.
The association ascribed this to the decline in international oil demand that was triggered by the U.S.-China trade disputes and the following global economic recession. According to the International Energy Agency, OECD member countries’ average daily oil demand was 47.2 million barrels in the first half of this year, down 0.6 percent from a year earlier. Likewise, South Korea’s petroleum product consumption for the first three quarters of this year showed a year-on-year decrease of 1.4 percent.
In the third quarter, South Korea’s petroleum product exports decreased 15 percent year on year to US$9.28 billion with the unit export prices falling along with international oil prices. However, petroleum products are still the fourth-largest export item of South Korea and the number of export destinations for the products increased by 11 to 62 in one year.
By product type, light oil accounted for 39 percent of the total exports, followed by aviation fuel (21 percent), gasoline (18 percent) and naphtha (9 percent). Bunker C oil exports dropped 26 percent with the International Maritime Organization’s sulfur content limitation to 0.5 percent or less around the corner.