South Korea's energy ministry announced the country had $52.78 billion in refined oil exports in 2013, a 5.9 percent decrease from 2012 levels, Platts reported. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said South Korea experienced lowered levels of demand from Southeast Asian countries and China, which has added more refining capacity. While South Korea's exports to China decreased 7.5 percent, shipments to the U.S. rose 20.7 percent compared to 2012 with Japan also increasing shipments by 9.5 percent.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that while South Korea is a major oil refiner, it continues to depend on imports of crude for its oil needs. In 2011, South Korea operated three out of the 10 crude oil refineries in the world.
South Korea imported $28.84 billion in oil products in 2013, a 12.2 percent increase from 2012, Platts reported. The country's crude exports dropped 5 percent to 2.47 million barrels per day in 2013, down almost 47 million barrels total from 2012. State-owned Korea National Oil Corp. is expected to release data on export volumes for 2013 later in January.