Iraq’s state oil marketing firm Somo this week held a tender for a cargo of its prized Kirkuk crude oil export grade (34° API, 2.2% sulfur) to be loaded from the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Sources confirm that the tender for the February-loading cargo was successful, although the buyer has not yet been named. Kirkuk is seen by many observers as being a lookalike for Russia’s Urals crude which has been pushed out of Europe by the 5 December EU embargo on Russian crude (MEES, 18 November 2022). But while appetite among European buyers for Kirkuk is strong, there is little availability.

In recent months, Somo has been exporting around 75,000 b/d of Kirkuk crude, but this has all been supplied via pipeline to Turkish state refiner Tupras. It’s not clear why this spot cargo has become available, but with Tupras importing record volumes of Russian crude late 2022 (MEES, 3 February), it may have been surplus to requirements in Turkey. (CONTINUED - 249 WORDS)