ANKARA / ISTANBUL
Turkey expresses an interest in boosting its business with Iran after Western powers promised to ease sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program
Although it is not possible to match the previous levels of oil imports from Iran, I believe our purchases could go up to 130,000 bpd or to 140,000 bpd, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız told after a deal between Iran and six western powers. CİHAN photo
Turkey could increase its oil imports from Iran
to 130,000-140,000 barrels per day (bpd), from around 105,000 bpd in a gradual manner, if Western sanctions against Iran
ease, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said during a live interview on CNBC-e television yesterday.
“We have already reduced our imports to around 105,000 [bpd] due to the sanctions. Once these sanctions are no longer in effect, I believe the amount we buy will hike,” he said, adding that Turkey couldn’t ignore Iran, which had one of the world’s three largest oil reserves, and was Turkey’s second biggest oil supplier after Russia.
Turkey cut dramatically its oil imports from Iran
from a previously contracted volume of 180,000 bpd last year after a European Union
embargo against Iran
came into full force on July 1, which also targeted marine insurance.Hard to match previous levels
Yıldız said Turkey has already rejected further reducing its oil imports from neighboring Iran.
“Although it is not possible to match the previous levels of imports, I believe our purchases from Iran
could go up to 130,000 bpd or to 140,000 bpd,” he said, adding that Turkey bought natural gas from five countries and oil from 12 countries.
The Islamic Republic of Iran
and six western powers reached a historic deal on Nov. 24 to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited relief on sanctions. Iranian oil sales have fallen by more than half from 2011 levels to about 1 million barrels a day as a result of EU and U.S. sanctions on oil trade, shipping insurance and banking, according to Reuters data.
“The relief in EU sanctions on oil shipping insurance is a big deal and creates the conditions to make it easier for Iran
to get at least up to the sanctioned levels,” Olivier Jakob from Petromatrix energy consultancy told Reuters yesterday.
Brent crude fell 1.6 percent yesterday just after the deal, but Yıldız called for patience. “It is of great importance to be patient and cautious in making any comment on whether the recent nuclear deal with Iran
will have an effect on oil prices,” he noted.
Turkey is also importing 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year from Iran
but would buy more if it were available, Yıldız said in an October briefing during the World Energy Congress in South Korea.
Turkey’s energy demand has doubled in the last 10 years and would double again in the next decade, he said. Energy buying is the biggest contributor to Turkey’s annual current account deficit of more than $50 billion.