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Amid an embargo on Russian seaborne crude to the European Union, NATO-member Turkey’s imports of Urals crude from Russia hit a four-month high in February thanks to resumption of purchases by Azerbaijan-owned STAR refinery in Turkey, Reuters reports exclusively.
Citing Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data, Reuters reports that Turkey imported 860,000 tonnes of Urals crude in February, compared to 620,000 tonnes in January and 370,000 tonnes in December.
In February, 300,000 tonnes of Urals crude went into the STAR refinery, which had halted imports of Russian oil for a month in late December.
This is still far from the peaks of 2022, however. Reuters notes that Turkey was importing up to 1.4 million tonnes of Urals crude per month between August and October, half of which fed the STAR refinery.
Urals oil was trading at around $60 per barrel immediately prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but Western sanctions allowed Turkey to purchase the same at under $38 per barrel. At these prices, Turkey doubled its imports from Russia in 2022. Nordic Monitor, citing Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK), notes that Turkish imports of Russian oil total 1.1 million tonnes in October 2021 and 2.2 million tonnes a year later.
These rising numbers will positively impact Russia’s oil revenues and its spending on the invasion of Ukraine, despite a $60 price cap placed on Russian oil by the G7.
Reuters reports that this month should see Russia experience an increase in oil export revenues due to solid demand and declining freight rates. This setup could see Urals near the $60 price cap on Russian oil implemented by the G7.
Turkish imports could help offset the decline in Russian oil product exports, in line with a secondary EU ban that went into effect on February 5th. According to S&P Global, the Kremlin’s oil revenues plunged by one-fifth in February, reaching their lowest point since May last year, as Russia struggled to find new buyers for products traditionally exported to Europe.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com