A satellite image showing the port of Ceyhan centered on August 18, 2015 in Turkey.
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Adverse weather conditions are hampering loading operations at the Turkish port of Ceyhan, where the impact of Monday’s huge twin earthquakes is still being assessed, according to oil traders and maritime sources.
Operations were halted at the oil port of Ceyhan – a critical hub for offloading crude oil and petroleum products, as well as loading Azeri crude and a stream of Iraqi crude oil – on Monday, following two earthquakes that devastated Turkey and Syria, leaving more than 5,000 dead. Turkey has declared a three-month state of emergency in quake-hit areas.
Damage to the port is still being determined. Adverse seasonal weather is now hampering shipments, according to multiple shipping and trade sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The port of Ceyhan serves the state-owned refiner Tupras and Azerbaijan’s Star Refinery Socar, based in Turkey. It also exports volumes of two crude oil streams – Azeri crude oil delivered via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) consortium pipeline and Iraqi crude oil mixture Kirkuk transferred via the separate Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. The loadings of the two crude oil terminals are carried out from two different points in the port of Ceyhan, with the BTC crude oil leaving the BTC terminal, while the Kirkuk mixture leaves the Botas terminal.
Lawk Ghafuri, spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government, told CNBC that the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline which passes through the Iraqi crude oil blend from Kirkuk for export by sea to the Mediterranean had not restarted on Tuesday. morning, after halting deliveries on Monday.
Ghafuri added that the pipeline suffered no damage from the earthquakes. An oil trade source familiar with KRG’s operations told CNBC the pipeline could likely begin flowing later Tuesday.
A tanker waits to dock to load crude oil from Kirkuk.
Three trade sources, who preferred to remain anonymous as they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, opined that the BTC terminal may experience a longer restart as local damage is still being assessed.
A trade source and a maritime source highlighted the potential impact to a tank, although it was not immediately clear if any damage had been sustained.
Botas International, which operates the section of the BTC pipeline that crosses Turkish territory, said on Monday that no damage was detected on the crude pipeline at the time, according to a Google translation.
Azeri crude producer Socar did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.
The first-month Ice Brent contract with April delivery was trading at $82.25/bl at 15:54 GMT, up $1.26/bl from the previous close price. The Nymex WTI contract with March expiry was at $75.66/bl, $1.55/bl higher than Monday’s settlement.