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‘Iraq ready to supply oil to Korea’

By Korea Herald

Published : March 16, 2012 - 20:38

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Iraq has promised to provide crude oil to Korea if U.S-led sanctions against Iran disrupt the global supply of the critical resource, the Seoul government said on Friday.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the understanding was reached at a Thursday meeting between Vice Energy Minister Cho Seok and Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani in Baghdad.

“The senior official commented that if Seoul has trouble importing oil and requests assistance, Iraq can give priority to shipments headed for South Korea,” the ministry in charge of the country’s industrial and energy policies said.

Korea has said it will take part in the worldwide sanctions against Tehran, which is suspected of having a clandestine nuclear weapons program. The country, however, is vulnerable to geopolitical uncertainties in the Middle East since it imports most of its crude oil from the region.

“The two sides concurred that 250,000 barrels of crude per day can be allocated to cover shortfalls if an emergency situation occurs,” the ministry claimed. It said the amount is equivalent to 10 percent of South Korea’s daily oil imports.

Combined oil imports in 2011 reached 926.7 million barrels with 9.4 percent coming from Iran.

The ministry, meanwhile, said that Iraq, which sold 89.9 million barrels of crude to Seoul or 9.7 percent of the country’s total imports, indicated that more South Korean companies could take part in the development of oil and gas reserves in the country.

At present, Korea Gas Corp. is working on exploration projects in the Middle East country, which is estimated to have the world’s fourth largest oil reserves of around 115 billion barrels. 

(Yonhap News)