Turkey occupies the place left vacant by the EU for imports of

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Turkey has doubled its oil imports from Russia this year, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Monday, as the two countries prepare for wider cooperation in business and especially in energy trade, in the face of Western sanctions against Moscow. Reuters.

Trade between Turkey and Russia has been booming since the spring, as Turkish companies that were not banned from dealing with their Russian counterparts stepped in to fill the gap created by EU businesses that left Russia after the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine “a special military operation”.

This year, Turkey has increased its oil imports from Russia, including Ural and Siberian Light, to more than 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared with just 98,000 bpd for the same period in 2021, Refinitiv data shows.

Turkey has not sanctioned Russia over its actions in Ukraine, saying it remains dependent on Russian energy supplies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met in early August and agreed to boost business cooperation.

Turkey’s main refiners, Tupras, and the STAR refinery of Azerbaijan’s SOCAR group have significantly increased their supply of Russian Ural and Siberian Light oil this year, while purchases of products from the North Sea, Iraq and West Africa have decreased. show the data.

Over the past few years, the STAR refinery has increased purchases of Johan Sverdrup oil from Norway and Iraq, which have a quality close to that of Ural oil, as the price of Russian oil has risen.

This year, Russian oil prices have fallen to historic lows against the Brent benchmark, while North Sea and Iraqi oil prices have improved.

The STAR refinery is expected to buy about 90,000 bpd of oil from Russia in the January-August 2022 period, compared with 48,000 bpd in the same period last year, Refinitiv Eikon data shows.

Tupras refineries will buy about 111,000 bpd of oil from Russia between January and August this year, compared with just 45,000 bpd in the same period last year, according to the data.

“The choice for Turkish refiners was obvious because they have no limits on buying Russian oil,” said a trader in the Mediterranean oil market, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media. He added that good oil refining margins in the Urals supported Turkish refiners’ profits.

The Turkish Ministry of Energy, Tupras and SOCAR did not immediately respond to Reuters for comment.