EghtesadOnline: Turkey’s biggest oil importer Tupras has cut back purchases of Iranian crude since May, when the United States said it would reimpose sanctions on Tehran, and analysts say Tupras is likely to stick to lower volumes in coming months.
Turkey depends heavily on imports to meet its energy needs and neighboring Iran has been one of its main sources of oil because of its proximity, crude quality and favorable price differentials, Reuters reported.
In the first four months of 2018, Tupras, Turkey’s largest refiner, bought an average of 187,196 barrels per day of Iranian oil, data from Turkey’s energy watchdog EPDK showed.
In April alone, Tupras imported eight cargoes—equivalent to just over 240,000 bpd—from the OPEC member, Financial Tribune reported.
But since May, Turas’s purchases of Iranian oil have gone down. Tehran shipped four cargoes of crude oil per month to Tupras, equivalent to around 130,000 bpd, in May and June, tanker tracking and shipping data showed, down from six to eight earlier in the year.
So far in July, Tupras has bought three more cargoes.
An industry source said the US decision was the main reason for the decline in Tupras’s purchases of Iranian oil since May, but said the company was likely to continue importing some Iranian crude, as it did when US sanctions were previously in force.
“During the sanctions scheme of 2011 by the US, Tupras was able to purchase three to four cargoes of Iranian crude a month,” the industry source said. “I believe they would want to be able to stick to that this time as well, instead of completely stopping. This crude needs to be bought by someone as otherwise it will send the price shooting up, which nobody wants,” the source added.
Refiners in other countries eager to maintain their access to the US financial system will be affected by the sanctions. Indian refiners also cut imports of Iranian oil last month to avoid the looming US sanctions.