South Korea stopped buying crude oil from Iran in August after its refiners lost insurance coverage on ships carrying the fuel from the Persian Gulf nation, Reuters reported.
Purchases fell to zero last month, reducing imports from Iran for the first eight months of this year by 34 percent from a year earlier to 5.39 million tons, according to data posted on the Customs Service's website today.
South Korea bought 1.14 million tons of crude oil, or 36,738 tons a day, from Iran in August 2011.
South Korean refiners reduced Iranian crude purchases this year as the U.S. and European Union ratcheted up sanctions to pressure the Persian Gulf nation to halt a nuclear program that the U.S. and Israel accused it of pursuing to develop atomic weapons.
A EU ban introduced on July 1 prevented Korean refiners from insuring their tankers.
Iran offered to provide its own tankers to supply the oil, a South Korean government official said on June 29, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
SK Innovation Co., one of the two buyers of Iranian crude in the Asian country, said on Aug. 17 it would resume imports in September as it is near agreement on using Iran's tankers.
Edited by: S. Isayev