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S. Korea''s oil consumption falls for first time in five years

TOKYO, Jan 30 (KUNA) -- South Korea's oil consumption fell for the first time in five years in 2013 as the country used more electricity and city gas to meet its heating and miscellaneous energy needs, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday.
According to numbers provided by the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC), petroleum product consumption reached around 826.84 million barrels last year, a 0.1 percent dip from the tally taken for 2012.
The last time oil product consumption contracted was in 2008 as the global financial crisis fueled economic uncertainties and caused people and industries to cut back on spending, the KNOC said.
More demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a greater number of factories and homes using city gas have hurt sales overall, the KNOC said. On the other hand, it said sales of gasoline, diesel fuel used for cars, and naphtha used by the petrochemical sector did grow last year compared to the year before.
Since 1997, when the country was rocked by the Asian financial crisis, oil consumption has only grown very slowly, the report said. While petroleum met 60.4 percent of the country's energy needs in 1997, it recently stood at just 38.1 percent, with the slack being taken up by electricity and natural gas, it added. South Korea generates a considerable portion of its electricity using nuclear power, and is one of the largest importers of natural gas in the world.
Kuwait is South Korea's No. 2 supplier of crude oil, exporting roughly 300, 000-400,000 barrels per day last year. (end) mk.rk KUNA 301005 Jan 14NNNN