Turkey’s Iranian oil purchases fall by one-third in one month
DUBAI - Reuters
Turkey imported 29 percent less Iranian crude oil in December than November, data from the Turkish energy watchdog showed, as the country followed a pledge to cut purchases as part of Western trade sanctions against Iran.
Iranian crude imports dropped to 82,849 barrels per day (bpd) or 350,385 tons from November’s 116,000 bpd or 474,784 tons, according to data from the Republic of Turkey Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK).
This brought Turkey’s total Iranian oil imports to 7.56 million tons in 2012, or 151,829 bpd, a drop of around 15 percent from 2011 and from volumes contracted with Iran, which were around 180,000 bpd.
Once reliant on Iran for more than half its crude oil imports, Turkey has reduced its purchases as the United States and European Union have tightened sanctions on the trade with Tehran.
Turkey obtained an initial waiver from the United States on Iranian oil imports for 180 days from June 11 after Ankara made an initial 20 percent import cut before the EU sanctions came into effect last July.
The exemption was renewed in early December for another 180 days.
The United States and many of its allies say Iran is enriching uranium for weapons purposes, while Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
Iranian oil has fallen to 39 percent of Turkey’s total crude oil purchases from 49 percent in 2011, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute and the energy watchdog. The statistics office stopped providing a country-by-country breakdown for crude oil imports at the end of 2012.
Turkey made it clear it would not stop buying Iranian oil, but it has intensified efforts to diversify its suppliers.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that Iran lost over $40 billion in export revenue in 2012, or about $3.4 billion per month. Iranian oil output will likely fall further from its lowest in three decades as the West tightens sanctions on the Islamic Republic, depriving Tehran of hard currency revenues, the Western energy agency said on Feb. 12.