Azeri Crude Flows From Ceyhan Oil Port Resume After Devastating Earthquake

The first tanker loaded with Azeri crude left on Monday the Turkish port of Ceyhan, a week after the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria halted operations at the Ceyhan terminals.

The crude oil tanker Nordlotus departed from Ceyhan early on Monday local time and is en route to Genoa, Italy, according to data from MarineTraffic.

The tanker is loaded with Azerbaijan’s crude, which hasn’t been exported from Ceyhan since the earthquake on February 6, Reuters reported today, citing a trade source and vessel-tracking data.

Another tanker, the Alfa Baltica, is at the Botas Ceyhan terminal also loading Azeri crude, a trade source told Reuters.  

The Ceyhan oil terminal temporarily suspended operations on February 6 after the earthquake. The oil terminal is located around 155 kilometers, or 96 miles, from the epicenter of the earthquake.

Crude oil flows from Iraq to Ceyhan resumed on February 7, but Azeri crude oil shipments were only restored a week after the earthquake.

Earlier estimates suggested that the terminal at Ceyhan hosting the pipeline from Azerbaijan was expected to return to operations on February 8 or February 9.

But BP Azerbaijan declared force majeure on loadings of Azeri crude from Ceyhan on February 8. BP Azerbaijan is the operator of the sections of the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline in Azerbaijan and Georgia. Ceyhan is the key export outlet for Azerbaijan’s oil and ships out around 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Azeri crude.

A spokeswoman for BP told Reuters that the loading of Azeri crude resumed on Sunday.  

The return of Azeri crude oil shipments out of Ceyhan is a relief to concerns about supply to the market, days after Russia said it would cut in March 500,000 bpd of its oil production in response to the Western sanctions and price caps on Russian crude and petroleum products.