SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s consumption of petroleum declined to a five-year low last year amid the pandemic, data showed Sunday.

The country’s consumption of petroleum reached 878 million barrels last year, down 5.8 percent from the previous year, according to Korea National Oil Corp.

The tally marked the lowest since 2015, when the country consumed 856 million barrels. It also marked the first time in five years that such consumption dipped below 900 million barrels.

The consumption of jet fuel declined 44 percent on-year to 21.8 million barrels as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted air travel.

The pandemic prompted lockdowns and restrictions in many parts of the world in the first half of last year, causing demand for international travel to grind to a halt.

Demand for petroleum products has revived this year as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is quickening the global economic recovery.

South Korea’s petroleum consumption reached 72 million barrels in February, almost recovering to last year’s level, the data showed.

  Experts said four major oil refiners here are tipped to have seen their net profit return to the black in the first quarter on the back of improving energy consumption.