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Russia Profits From New Turkish Refinery as U.S. Sanctions Hit Iran

Russia will supply 1 million tons of Urals crude to an Azerbaijani refinery in Turkey.

Danil Shamkin / Zuma / TASS

Russia stands to profit from U.S. sanctions on Iran as Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company Socar looks to the country to supply its new $6.3 billion refinery in Turkey. 

Earlier this year, the Trump administration ended its waivers that had allowed some countries, including Turkey, to import Iranian oil. Under the sanctions, oil imports from Iran, one of Socar’s preferred suppliers, are now off the table.

The Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft will supply Socar’s Star Refinery on Turkey’s Aegean coast with an initial 1 million tons of Urals crude, Bloomberg reported on Monday.  

“If there were no restrictions, we would buy Iranian crude,” Mesut Ilter, the refinery’s CEO, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

Socar began operating the Star Refinery in October. Observers have said the facility’s opening is a sign of increasing energy interdependence between Turkey and Azerbaijan.  

The refinery already accounts for more than a quarter of Turkey’s refining capacity and is looking to expand its storage by more than half to 2.5 million cubic meters, Bloomberg cited Ilter as saying. It will process almost 8 million tons of crude this year and 10 million tons thereafter, he added.

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