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LONDON: Turkey’s imports of Iranian crude oil have been holding steady at around 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) from September to December, data from a shipping source and Reuters AIS Live showed.
Turkey’s sole refiner Tupras received two Iranian crude cargoes of 145,000 tonnes and 140,000 tonnes at the Tutunciftlik import terminal in December. None went to the other import terminal Aliaga.
November saw two cargoes go to Tutunciftlik and one to Aliaga, while October had three cargoes delivered to Tutunciftlik.
Official trade data pegged October imports lower at around 75,000 bpd. The volume is nearly half of its 2011 pre-sanction average of around 180,000 bpd. Turkey sharply increased its Iranian oil buys after sanctions were initially announced before reducing them in the months up to July to secure a sanctions waiver from the US. Imports peaked at around 250,000-280,000 bpd in early 2012.
Western nations have imposed a raft of sanctions on Iran aimed at hampering the country’s finances to prevent it from developing an atomic bomb, while Tehran says its nuclear activities are peaceful.
Turkey was granted an initial waiver on Iranian oil by the US for 180 days from June 11 after Ankara made an initial 20 percent import cut before sanctions came into effect. The exemption was renewed in early December for another 180 days.
Most of the crude oil delivered in November and December arrived directly from Iran via the Suez Canal using various Iranian National Iranian Tanker Company tankers, mainly flagged in Tanzania. In earlier months, the crude was only lifted from the Egyptian port of Sidi Kerir, the end of the Sumed pipeline linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.
Iran’s Blossom tanker, also known as Baikal, would go back and forth between Egypt and Turkey. Reuters