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Turkey Can’t Fill Oil Void Left By U.S. Sanctions On Iran

Ceyhan oil infrastructure

Turkey will not be able to “quickly” source oil from alternate sources after the US ended the waivers previously extended to Turkey for the purchase of Iranian oil, Turkish foreign minister said on Thursday as cited by Reuters.

The waivers that the United States granted eight countries including China, India, and Turkey officially ended yesterday.

Turkey’s stance that it will be unable to find oil elsewhere “quickly” insinuates that the waiver expiration came as a surprise, although the expiration date was announced at the onset of the six-month waivers. Still, many analysts assumed that the United States would again grant waivers to at least some of the eight countries—and were likely disappointed that waivers were not forthcoming.

“It does not seem possible for us to diversify the sources of the oil we import in a short time,” Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. Turkey’s refineries, according to Cavusoglu, are not equipped to process crude oil from just any other country, and would therefore require retooling—something that is not only time intensive but costly.

This challenge highlights a growing concern as more and more Iranian barrels are cut out from the marketplace: all crude oil is not equal. And Turkey’s relations with alternate suppliers such as Saudi Arabia and UAE are less than amicable.

India, too, has expressed concerns regarding crude oil supplies, but India has resigned itself to the fact that it must look to other crude sources. India’s main concern now is that the end to the waivers brought about significant price increases—a fact that is a grave concern for oil-thirsty India. While India is not expressing defiance over the waiver expiration, as recently as last weekend, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asked once more that the United States show flexibility with its expectations regarding oil purchases.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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