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Turkey Saved $2 Billion This Year by Importing Cheap Russian Oil

Turkey, which has become one of the biggest buyers of Russian oil after the EU embargo on Moscow’s crude and refined products, has saved some $2 billion from its oil import bill so far this year, as it has boosted imports from Russia, Reuters has estimated.

Turkey has continued to buy Russian crude and refined petroleum products. The discounts on Russian oil and Turkey’s proximity to Russia’s Western ports have played to the advantage of Ankara in 2023, per Reuters calculations based on data from LSEG and traders.

Last month, shipments of Russia’s flagship crude grade, Urals, to Turkey surged to a record-high level of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), making up around 14% of all Russian oil exports by sea, per the data Reuters’ analysts have crunched.

Turkey’s imports of Russian oil could further rise after reports emerged in October that Russian oil producer Lukoil had struck an agreement with Azeri state oil company SOCAR to supply the Azeri firm’s refinery in Turkey with Russian crude. 

Since the EU’s import ban on Russian crude oil, Turkey has been the largest buyer of Russian oil products, purchasing 24% of those, followed by China, which has bought 12% of exported Russian oil products, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said in its latest monthly assessment of Russian fossil fuel exports. Turkey has also imported 4% of Russia’s crude since the EU embargo came into force in December last year.

In October 2023, the latest month with full data in CREA’s analysis, Turkey was the third-largest buyer of Russian fossil fuels with 15% of all imports from Russia.

Apart from Turkey, India has also emerged as a big buyer of Russian oil this year—mostly of crude, and has also saved on its crude oil import bill due to the discounts at which Russian crude trades.

Between January and September, India saved about $2.7 billion by importing discounted Russian oil, according to Reuters calculations based on Indian government data.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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