Oil, Gas Flows Through Turkey Unhindered After Coup Quelled

Are the Events in Turkey Bullish for Commodities?
  • Tanker traffic, pipeline flows are normal: Traders, port agent
  • Turkish Straits one of world’s major oil transit chokepoints

Oil tankers are loading and unloading cargoes normally at Turkey’s ports and sailing without interruption in the nation’s waters after forces loyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan crushed an attempted coup.

Four traders who specialize in oil cargoes from suppliers in the Black Sea and Mediterranean said shipments were running as normal. Pipeline flows through the country to the Turkish port of Ceyhan were also at the usual levels, a port agent said.

Turkey, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, is a crucial conduit of crude transport from Russia and Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea. Millions of barrels of oil travel through the nation’s waterways and pipelines daily. The country is also on the fringe of broader conflict in the Middle East, with Syria bordering its southeastern edge. Oil futures rose as much as 1.9 percent on Friday after the putsch began, before erasing those gains Monday.

“The coup has failed,” said Robin Mills, chief executive officer of Dubai-based consultant Qamar Energy. “There is no direct impact on supplies. It does elevate geopolitical concern a little bit.”

To read more on Turkey’s power struggles, click here.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was at $47.37 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, down 24 cents, at 11:38 a.m. London time. Prices rose as high as $48.25 on Friday.

The Turkish Straits, including the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, are one of the world’s major choke points for seaborne crude transit, with about 2.9 million barrels of oil passing through daily in 2013, the latest year of available data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Turkey is also home to pipelines that transport crude and condensate from nations including Iraq and Azerbaijan to the port of Ceyhan, on the Mediterranean Sea in southern Turkey. BP Plc, operator of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Azerbaijan via Georgia, confirmed that oil flow was uninterrupted.

Kurdish Supply

“Our facilities in Turkey are open and operating normally,” BP spokesman David Nicholas said in an e-mailed response to questions. “There are no disruptions to the flow of oil through the BTC pipeline.”

Officials of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government didn’t immediately respond to requests about the status of oil exports from the semi-autonomous region through a pipeline to Ceyhan. Iraqi Kurds shipped almost 500,000 barrels a day of oil through Turkey in June, according to a July 11 statement on the KRG website.

The Turkey coup attempt was quashed after hours of clashes in which tanks blocked roads, soldiers fought police and warplanes bombed the parliament in Ankara. Erdogan’s forces rounded up thousands of military officers and officials allegedly involved in the attempt, and almost 200 people were killed.

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