Korea Base Oils Finish Strong Year


Korea Base Oils Finish Strong Year

South Korea exported more than 400,000 metric tons of base oil at a value of more than $425 million in December, marking the fourth consecutive month those levels were exceeded. For the full year, base oil export volume was up almost 10%, and the value was more than 80% higher than in 2020.

The country exported 409,119 tons of base oil in December, 12% more than 364,487 tons in the same month last year and a 7% increase from 381,326 tons in December 2019. Last year’s high point of 442,932 tons occurred in September, and the low mark of 321,141 tons was recorded in May. Sequentially, December’s total was down 7% from 440,505 tons exported in November.

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For the full year, South Korea exported 4.7 million tons, a 9% increase from 4.3 million tons in 2020 and just 1% shy of the 2019 total.

The declared value of base oil exports from South Korea was $427.7 million in December, compared with $246.2 million in the same month of 2020 and $270.4 million in December 2019. Sequentially, last December’s export value was down 3% from $439.2 million in November.

For all of 2021, the value of the country’s base oil exports reached $4.7 billion, an 86% increase from $2.5 billion for 2020 and 41% higher than $3.3 billion in 2019.

South Korea is one of the world’s largest base oil exporters, with most of the base stocks produced and exported by SK LubricantsS-OilGS Caltex and Hyundai Shell Base Oil.

The country imported 42,177 tons of base oil in December, a 140% jump from 17,605 tons in the same month last year and 183% higher than the 14,904 tons mark in December 2019. March was the strongest month last year, with 56,871 tons imported. The lowest monthly total recorded was 19,699 tons in November. Sequentially, December’s import volume topped the November figure by 114%.

For 2021, the nation’s base oil import volume reached 457,700 tons, 17% above 2020’s 390,896-ton mark and 14% higher than 2019’s 400,917 tons.

The value of imported base oil zoomed 265% to $43.7 million in December, compared with $12 million in the same month last year. That was also more than 330% higher than the import value in December 2019. Last year, the highest monthly import value recorded was $55.2 million in May, while the lowest was the $21.4 million in November. Sequentially, December’s value more than doubled that November import volume.

For full-year 2021, the value of South Korea’s imported base oil totaled $448.4 million, 75% more than 2020 and 31% higher than in 2019.

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