Kuwait's crude oil exports to South Korea in December jumped 19.2 percent from a year earlier to 12.81 million barrels, or 413,000 barrels per day (bpd), latest data released by the state-run Korea National Oil Corporation showed.
As South Korea's No. 2 supplier, Kuwait provided 15.8 percent of South Korea's total crude oil imports last month. In the whole 2014, Kuwaiti shipments to the world's fifth-largest crude fell 2.3 percent year-on-year to 136.55 million barrels (374,000 bpd).
Overall South Korea's crude oil imports in December grew 8.9 percent on the year to 2.61 million bpd. Saudi Arabia remained its top crude supplier, with imports from the kingdom rising 1.4 percent from a year earlier to 766,000 bpd. The United Arab Emirates ranked third with 326,000 bpd, up 3.0 percent, followed by Qatar and Iran.
On Thursday, state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) signed a long term crude oil supply contract with SK Group, a deal that extends its strategic alliance with the South Korea-based conglomerate.
KPC International Marketing Managing Director Nasser Al-Mudhaf signed the contract in the ceremony in Seoul on behalf of KPC, while SK Group was represented by SK Trading International CEO Harry Kim.
"KPC plans are to extend the longstanding and historical relationship with SK by renewing a long term contract. Our strategic partnership with SK preserves and expands Kuwait's market share of oil supply within the oil industry in South Korea," Al-Mudhaf told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) after the signing ceremony.
As South Korea's largest refiner, SK Innovation, a family of SK Group, operates two refineries with a combined capacity of around 1.2 million bpd. It holds about 35 percent of South Korea's petroleum product market, excluding LPGs.