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South Korean refiners consider legal action over OW Bunker losses

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South Korea's two major refiners are considering legal action to recover losses tied to the collapse of the world's largest marine fuel supplier, Denmark's OW Bunker, which has started winding up its Singapore unit, industry sources said on Thursday.

[SEOUL] South Korea's two major refiners are considering legal action to recover losses tied to the collapse of the world's largest marine fuel supplier, Denmark's OW Bunker, which has started winding up its Singapore unit, industry sources said on Thursday.

OW Bunker filed for bankruptcy last Friday after an alleged fraud at a Singapore subsidiary, Dynamic Oil Trading, cost it at least US$125 million and banks refused to provide new credit lines, throwing the world's ship fuel market in turmoil.

According to OW Bunker Far East Singapore's corporate records, Chay Fook Yuen, Bob Yap and Tay Puay Cheng of KPMG have been appointed as its liquidators.

OW Bunker and Dynamic Oil both listed ING Bank NV as a"chargee", meaning they have received some form of secured credit from the Dutch lender.

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This followed a series of legal actions by oil firms this week against the two Singapore units of OW Bunker, with the arrest of a ship fuel delivery barge Laguna on Wednesday and claims filed in the city state's courts totalling more than S$5 million.

South Korean refiners are also contemplating legal action against OW Bunker. "We are considering all possible legal actions...We don't have exact schedules over legal actions, though," a spokeswoman at SK Innovation Co Ltd, which fully owns South Korea's largest refiner SK Energy, told Reuters by phone.

She declined to comment on the size of the refiner's losses.

Another South Korean refiner GS Caltex Corp, a joint venture between GS Holdings and Chevron Corp, is also considering legal action, a spokesman said, without elaborating. He also declined to disclose the losses.

South Korea exports around 700,000 tonnes of bunker fuel oil a month on average, and OW traded and sold around 100,000-150,000 tonnes a month, according to traders estimates.

REUTERS

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