Turkey Has Folded to US Pressure, Is No Longer Importing Any Iranian Oil

China is now Iran's sole hope

Turkey blasted US sanctions but decided not actually to run afoul of them

Turkey has closed its ports to Iranian oil, fully complying with U.S. sanctions against its main supplier, despite Ankara publicly criticising the United States’ move to end import waivers and warning of a struggle to tap alternative producers.

The U.S. decision to fully re-impose sanctions on Iranian oil ended a six-month reprieve for Turkey and seven other big importers as Washington steps up attempts to isolate Iran and choke off its oil revenues.

An American military presence in the region has also raised concerns over a potential U.S.-Iran conflict.

Full compliance allows Turkey to avoid U.S. sanctions even as its ties with the NATO ally are strained on several other fronts, including over the planned purchase of a Russian missile defence system that would trigger separate U.S. penalties.

Turkey’s largest oil refiner Tupras had pressed Washington for an extension of the import waiver before the May 1 expiration, according to a person familiar with the talks, adding that when it was not granted the company made it clear it would halt all imports from Iran.

Tupras did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

According to Refinitiv tracking data, no tankers loaded in Iran have arrived at Turkish ports so far in this month.

Four days after the waiver ended, a tanker carrying 130,000 tonnes of Iranian crude was midway across the Mediterranean Sea to Turkey when it changed course and turned off its tracker, Refinitiv oil analyst Ehsan ul-Haq said. Analysts, citing satellite imagery, said it likely unloaded instead at the Syrian port of Banias.

The data shows that Turkey began trimming its Iranian imports as early as march. Analysts said it has replaced the oil from its neighbour with oil from Iraq, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Last week, Reuters reported that Iranian crude oil exports have fallen to 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) or lower this month, with the bulk heading to Asia, according to tanker data and industry sources.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has previously slammed the sanctions, saying they are destabilising for the region. In Washington last month, his spokesman said the country didn’t want to be deprived of its right to buy oil and gas from Iran.

A day after the waivers for China, India, Japan and other big importers were withdrawn, Turkey’s foreign minister said it did not seem possible for his country to diversify its suppliers in such a short period of time.

Yet Tupras, which consumes almost all of Turkey’s oil imports, used its play book from 2012-2013, when earlier U.S. sanctions on Iran forced it to ramp up supplies from Iraq and Russia, said an oil industry executive who requested anonymity.

“It is the same story…This time they are importing more Kazakh oil though,” said the executive, adding that Kazakh import volumes hit a 20-year high in February.

Turkey, the largest economy in the Middle East, is almost completely reliant on imports for its energy needs.

Prior to May 2018, when the U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord, Turkey imported an average of 912,000 tonnes of oil a month from Iran, or 47% of its total imports.

In the four months since November 2018, when the U.S. imposed sanctions and granted the limited waivers, Turkey imported an average of 209,000 tonnes of Iranian oil, or 12% of its total imports, according to Reuters calculations based on regulatory data.

The latest report from Turkey’s energy watchdog shows Iran supplied 15% of its oil consumption in February, with Iraq accounting for 23%, Russia 20% and Kazakhstan 16%.

Iraq’s oil minister Thamer Ghadhban said last week that Turkey had requested more oil.

Source: Reuters

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  2. Rowdy-Yates says

    “Turkey has closed its ports to Iranian oil, fully complying with U.S. sanctions against its main supplier,..”
    I do not think that includes the Hawala method of trade which Iran uses to bypass American sanctions.
    Also soon England, Germany, France, China and Russia will be buying oil from Iran through INSTEX ( Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) set up to bypass American sanctions, bypass SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) , & use other currencies than the dollar in order to buy Iranian oil

  3. Rowdy-Yates says

    Also India continues to buy Iranian oil despite American sanctions. So does Pakistan

  4. JHK says

    This is bad news, and proof that the zios capitalize on our lack of Unity, and now more forces will be trying to further split Turkey and Iran.

    The cause of this problem is Iranian Shia fighting with Turkish Sunni in Syria, that is encouraged by nato zios and secular assadists who have no knowledge or interest in Islam.

    Turkey will now crush Assad in Syria because Assad has procrastinated fighting zios nato and even nato backed kurds, instead choosing to pick on an old sectarian sore with Muslim Brotherhood.

    When Assad announced that ‘they are all foreign wahabi terrorists’ was his fatal mistake back in 2012ish, to blanket classify all opposition as nato backed and takfiri, and blaming every event on HTS, which all have failed to prove true (you can only fool a nonMuslim westerner and maybe Russia)

    It was not HTS that was mcain backed, it was fsa, it was not HTS that was saudi backed it was ahrar sham, it was not HTS that was eating livers/hearts, it was zinki, it was not HTS that was using nato bases, it was sdf and kurds.

    And because Assad chose to ride the secular bubble, and rely on foreign western supporters (assheadists) who are newbies to the Middle East, he fooled himself into holding popular support.

    So now the Assadist momentum is going to crumble on its artificial props (western secular assheadists) and because FSA was initially western backed also, we will see a rise in western support for TFSA because Turkey is an Islamic Nation with a long history in Syria, not only as an Ottoman Islamic Caliphate, but with strong loyalty to Ikhwan and Muslim Brotherhood, both adamant opposers to saudi and western influence and the original gangsters against zionism/kemalism/secularism.

    So the window for Assad is closing so quickly, that he is already at risk of losing both Hezbollah and Iran at the same time. GeoPolitically Assad could lose even Russia to Turkey.

    But dont ever say we didnt warn you, and dont ever approach us unless on your knees, because we have Millions of Muslim Brothers who have long suffered and been martyred at the expense of zios, saudi, sisi, nato, and now Assad.

    Assad, you really are a traitor to Muslims and our Brotherhood, you really did sellout to europe kurds nato and Russia, and now every square inch of your Regime is going to pay for your past 7 years of butcher and murder and outright arrogance.

    Noone has said you arent Muslim, but Muslims dont kill each other either. You will be charged with Murder just like saudi nato and zios will be charged with murder.

  5. Nassim7 says

    I guess the Iranians might send their oil a few kilometres to Iraq and let the Iraqis increase exports of their own oil. There are lots of funny things going on as a huge amount of money is at stake.

    1. Marko Marjanović says

      I’m told they’ve been under sanctions so long that (unlike Venezuela) they’ve become quite adept at getting around them, but I imagine there is a hard cap on how much you can export in that way.

      1. JHK says

        It looks bad, but trust me, it will force Russia China Iran and Turkey together like Magnets.

        Its an impossibility for any sane person to let nato get away with anymore of this.

        Our lack of Unity causes us to be punished by the enemy itself (zios and nato) who target every crack and flaw we have, until we become solid again, solid as in as Solid as the Russia China Axis.

        The Axis will realize that Assad is just an overated pussy that sits at the hub of the Axis, but he just wanted to be a doctor and live in the uk.

        1. jm74 says

          Turkey? Strongly doubt that Turkey has the character.

          1. JHK says

            GeoPolitics is kind of the study of countries, as you mention, as characters.

            With Turkeys past as Ottomans against Armenians, as kemalist, as nato, its understandably spotted.

            But Ive been there and know a few certainties:

            1. Turkey is anti zio for sure
            2. Turkey is anti nato but playing it.
            3. Turkey is Islamic and Sunni, but its actually very Sufi influenced which makes it half Shia in a way.

            It plays the secular line, much like Assad does (and gets slack for it by more hardline Rebels).

            But for sure it wont takfir Iran or war with Iran, unless it feels Iran is attacking Sunnis like we see in Idlib.

            So Turkeys character is it wont sellout Sunnis or even Shias despite its anger with Assad and Assads recklessness with Sunnis, and any interaction with Secularists nato or Russia will be diplomatic, but principled around Muslim Brotherhood.

            1. jm74 says

              Thanks for the explanation.

  6. Papajahat Mamabaik says

    Turkey is all bark. Given the choice they’ll prefer doing business with Isis over stolen Syrian oil. Nothing to be ashamed of as a gentile . India grovels too.

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