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Turkey Eyes Energy Hub Role

Erdogan Putin

Turkey continues to be a key beneficiary of Russia’s war on Ukraine. It’s not just eyeing coveted status as a ‘European hub’ for Russian gas, it’s also raking in big bucks from refining rerouted Russian oil and safe-havened oligarch cash.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Turkey has significantly increased its imports of Russian crude oil, which it then processes and exports as refined oil products to the EU and the US. We’ve seen the biggest spike in the past two months, as the EU ban on seaborne Russian crude draws closer. In September and October, Turkey enjoyed an 85% increase (over the previous two months) in exports of refined Russian oil products to the EU and the U.S.

The Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) recently released new data showing that Russia took in $21.7 billion in fossil fuel exports in October. That’s 7% lower than in September, but the gap is being filled and it’s certainly not a percentage that suggests the dismantling of Moscow’s war coffer. (Those war coffers have just been further topped up by a $1.4-billion payout from oil giant Rosneft).

Other data based on Turkey’s own Ministry of Trade shows Turkey’s total imports (all goods) from Russia more than doubled in the first nine months of this year (YoY), with oil and gas making up the bulk of that increase. Western companies are more than happy for the Turkish bypass that basically…

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