Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters that the government is in talks with Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Russia for crude oil purchases to replace the slowing shipments from Iran.
While Turkey has been purchasing oil from Saudi Arabia and Libya on the spot market, it hopes to reach agreements for long-term contracts.
Yildiz discussed the government’s diversification, “One of our core strategies is to increase the number of supplier countries and alternative routes. We buy oil from 11 countries and natural gas from five. We aim to increase that to 13 or 15, if possible.”
He continued, “We bought 1 million tons of oil from Libya and have also started spot buying 1 million tons from Saudi Arabia. Tupras (Turkey’s sole refiner) is in talks with Saudi Arabia over long-term contracts and I think they’ll conclude this year.”
While Western countries placed severe sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, the US gave various countries waivers from the full embargo, letting them decrease imports from Iran instead. Turkey obtained a 180-day reprieve from June 11 after cutting Iran oil imports 20 percent.
When asked if Turkey would be reducing its imports from Iran further, Yildiz said, “I don’t expect that we will need to lower the amount of oil we buy from Iran again this year. There may be fluctuations on oil purchases, but Iran remains one of our most important suppliers.” Despite this, US sources have said the government there would push for additional cuts.