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Russian Urals crude supplies to Turkey hit record in March, LSEG data shows

Turkey’s imports of Russia’s flagship Urals crude rose to a monthly record of more than 12 million barrels in March, as Ankara remains the world’s second largest importer of the grade after India, according to LSEG data.

Turkey became the biggest importer of Russian energy in the Western hemisphere after Russia’s military actions in Ukraine triggered European countries to halt most imports of Russian oil and gas.

Urals exports to Turkey have risen even more since last year following the deal between Russian private oil producer Lukoil and Azerbaijan’s Socar – an owner of 200,000-barrel-per-day Turkish STAR refinery.

The deal gave Lukoil another customer in close proximity to Russian ports, after Bulgaria has made it almost impossible for its sole refinery to run on Russian oil, and has decided to stop all Russian crude imports from March.

Russian oil supplies to Turkey rose while Urals prices this month averaged above $70 per barrel, exceeding a $60 per barrel Western price cap as they have done since late last year.

The West has stepped up pressure on Moscow in recent months, introducing tougher restrictions on its energy sector, a key source of Russian revenues.

According to LSEG, in March seaborne Urals oil supplies to Turkey rose to 12.5 million barrels from some 9 million barrels in February. March imports of Urals oil to Turkey were the largest on record, according to LSEG data.

SOCAR’s STAR refinery received some 6 million barrels of the grade in March and about 3 million barrels in February, according to LSEG data.

India remained the biggest buyer of Urals seaborne cargoes in March, according to LSEG shipping data, while China was the third biggest buyer of the grade, the data showed.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Reuters;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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