Turkey has doubled its oil imports from Russia this year, according to Refinitiv Eikon data published on Monday, at a time when both countries are preparing to expand their cooperation in the business field and, above all, in energy trade, in the face of Western sanctions against Moscow.

Trade between Turkey and Russia has been on the rise since the spring, as Turkish companies that are not banned from trading with their Russian counterparts have stepped in to fill the void created by companies from the European Union, which left Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. at the beginning of this year. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation.”

Turkey increased oil imports from Russia, including Urals and Siberian Light grades, by more than 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) so far this year, compared with just 98,000 bpd in the same period in 2021, according to data from Refinitiv.

Turkey has not sanctioned Russia for its actions in Ukraine, saying it remains dependent on Russian energy supplies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met in early August and agreed to boost business cooperation.

Turkey’s major refiners, Tupras and Azerbaijan’s SOCAR STAR refinery, significantly increased their intake of Russian Ural crude and Siberian light oil this year, while purchases of North Sea, Iraq and West African grades fell. , the data showed.

In recent years, the STAR refinery has increased purchases of Norwegian Johan Sverdrup and Iraqi grades, similar in quality to the Urals, as the price of Russian oil has risen.

This year, Russian oil prices fell to record lows against benchmark Brent, while prices for North Sea and Iraq oil grades improved.

The STAR refinery is expected to buy some 90,000 bpd of oil from Russia during the January-August 2022 period, up from 48,000 bpd in the same period last year, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Tupras refineries will buy some 111,000 bpd of oil from Russia between January and August this year, up from 45,000 bpd in the same period last year, according to the data.

“The choice of Turkish refiners is obvious as they have no limits on buying Russian oil,” said a Mediterranean oil market trader, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

He added that good refining margins on Ural oil supported Turkish refiners’ profits.

Turkey’s energy ministry, Tupras and SOCAR did not immediately respond to media requests for comment.

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