One day after the US ambassador to Ankara called on Turkey to reduce Iranian oil imports, the country’s energy minister announces oil purchase from neighboring Iran will be cut by 20 percent.
Taner Yildiz told reporters in Ankara on Friday that Turkey has plans to purchase one million tons of crude oil from Libya through the Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (Tupras) to make up for Iranian oil shortfall, the Associated Press reported.
“We believe that our decision is right for the normalization of Libya and to increase the trade volume bilaterally,” he added.
Yildiz stated that Turkey is also in talks with Saudi Arabia on spot oil purchases and longer term contacts.
“We plan to increase the number of countries we buy oil from and the routes we use,” he added.
Tupras officials also announced on Friday that the company has decided to reduce crude oil purchases from Iran by 20 percent and will fill the Iranian oil void through “other sources.” The company did not provide further details.
Tupras, a unit of Koc Holding, is Turkey’s main oil importer which buys some 30 percent of its crude oil from Iran and has a nine million ton annual purchase contract.
Turkey imports around 200,000 barrels per day of oil from Iran, representing 30 percent of its total imports and more than 7 percent of Iranian oil exports.
Meanwhile, director of Istanbul Technical University’s Energy Institute, Abdurrahman Satman, told Today’s Zaman that by deciding to cut Iran oil imports, “Turkey is putting itself in a bad situation.”
Strong economies, he added, have many options on the energy issue, but Turkey is not in a situation to act in such comfort.
The decision to cut Iran oil imports came one day after US Ambassador to Turkey Francis Riccardione, was quoted by daily Haberturk as saying that the Obama administration expects Turkey to reduce its imports of Iranian oil.
“Other countries have cut Iranian oil imports amid efforts to ratchet up pressure on the country for its nuclear [energy] program, and the US expects Turkey to do the same,” he added at a conference on Turkish-US relations in Istanbul.