SEOUL, March 9 (Reuters) – South Korea’s GS Caltex Corp has bought Mexican crude for the first time in 25 years, as the refiner takes advantage of low prices to make cheap spot purchases, a spokesman said on Monday.
The country’s second-biggest refiner bought 1 million barrels of crude from Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex, which arrived late on Sunday, he said.
The purchase was made to procure cheap crude on the spot market and further purchases were likely as long as cheap offers were available, said the spokesman at the joint venture between GS Holdings and Chevron Corp.
A fall in U.S. crude futures to the lowest in nearly a year against global benchmark Brent has opened a trading window for shipments of Latin American crude and U.S. condensate to Asia, traders said last month.
Oil from countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Argentina was starting to look cheap in Asia, according to traders.
South Korea has not imported crude from Mexico since 1990 when the customs service started its reports.
From America, the world’s fifth-largest crude oil importer bought only 10.1 million barrels, or just over 1 percent of its total 927.5 million barrels of crude oil imports last year.
Last year, GS Caltex bought the first condensate cargo shipped from the United States since the easing of a 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports, and also bought 800,000 barrels of Alaskan crude oil, the first U.S. export of Alaskan crude to South Korea in more than a decade. (Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Sunil Nair and Ed Davies)
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