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Turkey substitutes Moscow, making it difficult for Russian oil to reach Europe

Турция подставляет Москву, мешая российской нефти дойти до Европы

Near the Turkish Straits the Bosporus and the Dardanelles has accumulated 55 vessels, including 21 and 26 tanker suezmax tankers аframax. Most of them carry Russian and Kazakh oil. As reported “Interfax”, citing data from the port operator Shipping Tribeca, on Tuesday the tanker was 51.

The court, trapped in a kind of tube uploaded 41 million barrels of oil. The first reports of the delay came at the end of January. Instead of the usual 5-6 days tankers had to wait for 16-17 days to get to the Mediterranean sea, and about two weeks for passage into the Black.

Among the reasons for this situation are called Turkey introduced a new, stricter, rules of passage through Straits that require mandatory participation in the wiring of the tow. Tension creates and the adverse weather in the region.

“If delays continue or worsen, refineries in the Mediterranean will soon begin to feel the lack of raw materials”, — said Director of consulting firm Facts Global Energy James Davis. However, in his opinion, work on the solution to the problem is.

The Bosporus and the Dardanelles are the key points in the transit of goods from the black sea ports, in particular, to export oil from Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Every year they transport more than 120 million tons of oil and oil products.

The status of the Straits governed by the Montreux Convention when saving over them the sovereignty of Turkey. According to the document the merchant ships of all countries can pass freely through the Straits, while military restrictions. In the case of military action, Turkey might prohibit the passage of ships through the Straits.

General Director of “InfoTEK-terminal”, leading expert of the Union of Industrialists of Russia Rustam Tankan believes that the reasons for the delay can be many, but the situation of Europe’s fuel is seriously unlikely to affect.

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— The supply of oil to European refineries come from all possible directions. Direction of the black sea is important but not the most important thing. There are other areas. Shortages, particularly of gasoline in Europe will not arise.

But as for the delay of 16 days, it is very expensive. Simple tankers is not just the loss of time is loss of money because for the freight you have to pay.

I think the problem with the supply of oil and gasoline, most likely, will not, but the price it can raise.

Vice-President of the Center for strategic communications Dmitry Abzalov not inclined to see what is happening malice, all the more so after the port work not only by Russian companies, with which Turkey is unlikely to want to fight. The expert also reminded that the latest talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was relatively quiet.

It is quite possible that this is an attempt to strengthen the position before the meeting, which will take place next Thursday (14 February — ed.) in Sochi, where they will discuss Syria. Although, in practice, Erdogan usually uses another tool. For example, the access restriction (Russian companies — ed.) on the local market, which is easier to restrict on sanitary grounds and easier to open.

In addition, it would be easier to restrict the passage of warships. Although this process is governed by the Montreux Doctrine, but in fact, for example, the question of its interpretation on the country side, through which pass the Straits. There are many other tools.

Finally, Erdogan is now not interested to seriously destabilize the Russian-Turkish relations. Moscow is actively building the “Turkish stream,” nuclear power plant “Akkuyu”, so on this background to create problems with the handling it would be rather strange.

Most likely, there is specific intent was not. Moreover, to complicate the passage of tankers on a national basis it is somewhat difficult, as they line up consistently. It is not clear why priority is given to one or other tankers?

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In addition, I recall that at one time it was the problems with traffic through the Straits has led to the negotiations on the establishment of alternative routes. It is, for example, the oil pipeline Burgas-Alexandroupolis, which had to bypass the Turkish Straits from Bulgaria to end in Greece. Problems that can occur in Turkey due to these Straits, we can move this process.

“SP”: — There is concern that this situation may lead to problems with raw materials in the European refinery. It will not lead to fuel shortage in the European market?

This is unlikely, since part of the energy goes directly through pipelines. The Caspian pipeline consortium working with the European Union, but usually a pretty good inventory. Finally, there are alternative energy supplies, additional volumes can always buy from other directions, e.g. North Africa.

Here, if there are problems with the Libyan supply, which will overlap problems with the supply from the black sea basin, it can cause some complications and difficulties. But, as practice shows, the fundamental problems it will not though, because there are alternative points of energy supply.

Plus, the oil is not expensive on the spot market. If there was a fundamental problem with the Straits, we could see oil at 65. It would be just some increase. While this there is no evidence.

Finally, an important factor is warm weather. If it was colder, as in previous seasons, the energy consumption would be increased. We are talking about gas and oil. The weather is mild and the flow is not greatly increased. So the reason for fear yet. In the long term the deficit is not visible.

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