SEOUL-- Exports of oil and related goods by South Korean refiners reached an all-time high in the first half of the year on firm demand and higher oil prices, industry data showed Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Petroleum Association, oil and petrochemical goods exported by SK Innovation Co., GS-Caltex Co., S-Oil Corp., Hyundai Oilbank Co. and others reached 229 million barrels in the January-June period, rising 0.4 percent from a year earlier.

In terms of volume, the tally marks the highest for any first half, the latest data showed.

By value, their exports jumped 36.2 percent on-year to reach US$14.15 billion in the January-June period on the back of a rise in export prices.

Exports to China amounted to 42.9 million barrels in the six-month period, accounting for 19 percent of total outbound shipments, followed by Singapore with a 12 percent share, Australia with 11 percent, Japan with 9 percent, Taiwan with 9 percent and the United States with 7 percent.

Given the current trend of solid oil prices and firm demand, exports of oil and related goods by the refiners may exceed $30 billion this year, the association said.

Aided by increased exports and higher refining margins, the country's major oil refiners are projected to rack up decent earnings this year.

Last year, the country's four major oil refiners -- SK Innovation, GS Caltex, S-Oil and Hyundai Oilbank -- logged a combined operating income of 8.03 trillion won, an all-time high figure.

Source: Yonhap News Agency