South Korea's imports of oil from Iran more than doubled in the first nine months of this year from a year earlier after international sanctions on the country were lifted in January, industry data showed on Sunday.
According to the data, imports of Iranian crude oil and condensates reached 78 million barrels in the January-September period, compared with 33.63 million barrels a year earlier, Yonhap news agency reported.
Iranian oil accounted for 9.7% of the country's total oil imports during the cited period, the data showed.
In September alone, the country imported 12.15 million barrels, worth $526 million, up 106% and 72.3%, respectively, from a year earlier.
Iran had been a major exporter of crude to South Korea, but international sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear program had sharply reduced bilateral trade.
With a population of over 80 million, Ira is a resource-rich country, holding the world's fourth-largest oil reserves and the second largest gas reserves.
Last year, South Korea imported $2.20 billion worth of crude oil from Iran, down 51% from the previous year and far lower than $9.36 billion in 2011. By volume, imports of crude and condensates came to 42.4 million barrels last year, down from 44.92 million in 2014, 56.14 million in 2012.
So far, South Korea has been importing condensates from Qatar and the US, but after the lifting of sanctions on Iran, local oil refiners sharply jacked up the imports of the gassy ultra light fossil fuel from Iran.