Turkiye saves $2bn on Russia oil as imports soar despite sanctions

Turkiye and Turkish companies have saved around $2 billion on energy bills in 2023 by raising imports of discounted Russian oil and refined products, Reuters reports.

According to the report, Ankara wants to buy more from its neighbour, despite Western sanctions.

Turkiye became the biggest importer of Russian energy in the Western hemisphere after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered European countries to halt most imports of Russian oil and gas. China and India have imported larger volumes from Russia than Turkiye, but Ankara’s proximity to Russian ports, however, means it is saving more than other buyers, thanks to cheaper freight.

Russian Urals crude oil shipments to Turkiye rose to an all-time high of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in November 2023, accounting for some 14 per cent of Russia’s overall seaborne oil exports last month, LSEG data and Reuters calculations showed.

Russia’s Energy Ministry declined to comment. Turkiye’s Energy Ministry, Turpas, and STAR refiner did not respond to requests for comments.

Supplies to Turkiye are expected to rise further in the coming months after private Russian oil producer, Lukoil, signed a deal with Azeri firm, SOCAR, to refine up to 200,000-barrel-per-day of its oil at Socar’s Turkish STAR refinery, trading sources said.

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