(Updates with Halk bank comment in fourth paragraph and Turkish imports in fifth.)
Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s sole refining company said it won’t be able to use Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, the bank that handles Iranian crude purchases, to pay for oil imports from the Gulf state once U.S. sanctions come into force.
Tupras Turkiye Petrol Rafinerileri AS, which has a contract to buy 9 million metric tons of crude a year from Iran, can’t use the bank from the end of June unless it gets a waiver from the U.S., a Tupras official said today, declining to be identified citing company policy. The Turkish government is asking for the refiner’s Iranian business via Halk bank to be excused from the U.S. sanctions, the official said.
European refiners are seeking to secure crude supplies before a European Union ban on imports of Iranian oil in July. U.S. sanctions against financial institutions that deal with Iran take effect at the end of June. Indian refiners, who also use Halk bank for their purchases, have been told that these services may soon be terminated, four people with knowledge of the matter said Jan. 10.
An official at state-owned Halk, when called today, referred to an earlier response the bank gave on Aug. 5 last year that the Ankara-based bank complies with United Nations resolutions on Iran.
Turkey was the sixth-largest importer of Iranian crude during the first half of 2011, buying 182,000 barrels a day, according to the U.S. Energy Department. The five biggest were China, Japan, India, South Korea and Italy.
Tupras, owned by Koc Holding AS, signed a contract in August to buy about 180,000 barrels a day of crude from National Iranian Oil Co. for one year, Tupras said Dec. 22.
Seeking alternative supply, the refiner has increased purchases from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the Tupras official said today. The refiner agreed two months ago to buy one million tons of crude from Libya for a year, Erol Memioglu, head of Koc’s energy division, said on Feb. 15. Tupras continues to buy crude from Iran as there aren’t any sanctions yet and oil imports from other countries “could be more expensive,” Memioglu said in Istanbul.
--With assistance from Aydan Eksin in Istanbul. Editors: Stephen Voss, Rachel Graham
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