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Turkey's Urals oil purchases hit seven-month high in May

(Reuters) - Turkey's purchases of Russian Urals oil hit a seven-month high in May as Turkish refiners took advantage of low prices for the grade, Refinitiv Eikon data showed and traders said.

Turkey is the only major importer of seaborne Urals in Europe after most other countries in the region agreed an embargo on such purchases over Russia's actions in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters on Monday celebrated an election win that extended his rule into a third decade, promising continued trade with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his "dear friend".

Some 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Urals oil were loaded for delivery to Turkey's ports in May, the highest level since October 2022 and nearly double April's supplies, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and Reuters calculations.

Refiners in the Mediterranean, meanwhile, are suffering from shortages of sour oil as Iraq halted around 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude exports from the Kurdistan region at the end of March after winning an arbitration case against Turkey.

Turkey increased Urals oil imports last year and has bought about 150,000 bpd of the grade so far this year, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and Reuters calculations, nearly the same as in January-May 2022.

Turkey's ability to import Russian oil is limited by its refining capacity and competition with refiners in Asia, traders said.

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