Turkey’s economy is in recession but that hasn’t stopped crude imports rising to a record 665,000 b/d for July. At an average of 584,000 b/d for the first seven months of 2019 volumes are up a whopping 47% (188,000 b/d) year-on-year. This is thanks largely to the 200,000 b/d Star refinery in Izmir operated by Azerbaijan state-owned firm Socar which started up last November before ramping up to full capacity early this year.

Socar Turkey chief Zaur Gahramanov said in early June that the plant was about to adopt Iraqi Basra Light as its key diet. This is evidenced in the Turkish import stats which show imports from Iraq of 219,000 b/d for June and 218,000 b/d for July, the two highest figures this year, putting 2019 on track for the highest imports from Iraq since 2015’s 228,500 b/d. Volumes averaged just 132,000 b/d for 2018. (CONTINUED - 450 WORDS)