Saudis want a balanced oil market

Jan. 30, 2012 at 7:55 AM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- An official from Saudi Arabia said Riyadh wants to see a balanced oil market, suggesting the OPEC country could step in amid pressure on Iran's oil sector.

Turkish officials said they wouldn't honor unilateral sanctions imposed by its Western allies on Iran's energy sector out of fear of damaging its relationship with Tehran.

Tupras, a Turkish refiner of Iranian crude oil, has complied with sanctions imposed by Washington in the past and a Saudi official during a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Istanbul said Riyadh was ready to step in should Turkey decide to import less oil from Iran, the Financial Times reports.

Turkey last year got more than half of its oil from Iran when a NATO-led offensive in Libya closed down production from the North African country. Only Sri Lanka bought more oil from Iran than Turkey last year, the newspaper notes.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal was quoted by the Financial Times as saying "what Saudi Arabia wants to see is a balanced market in oil." The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last year did nothing to offset Libya crude disruptions, though some members stepped in unilaterally.

Unnamed Turkish officials told the Financial Times that Tupras was free to discuss energy ties with Riyadh though Ankara officially said it would seek a sanctions exception from Washington to buy Iranian crude.

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