Iraq has replaced Iran as the largest supplier of crude to Turkey for each of the four months leading to July. As recently as the first half of 2012 Iran regularly supplied over half of Ankara’s typical 350,000-400,000 b/d crude imports.
The rising proportion of Iraqi crude comes despite regular shutdowns to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline which directly links the two countries. This has cut volumes on the pipeline to a mere 168,000 b/d for both July and August (MEES, 6 September). In effect Turkey’s bumper buying of Iraq’s northern Kirkuk export blend has almost removed the crude from international seaborne markets in recent months. Turkey imported a record 154,000 b/d of Iraqi crude in July – the fourth month-on-month increase in a row – a mere 14,000 b/d shy of total volumes delivered to Ceyhan. The pattern looks to have been repeated in September, with only one Kirkuk cargo loading at Ceyhan slated for delivery to a company other than Turkish state refiner Tupras. (CONTINUED - 692 WORDS)