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India buys less Russian oil while Turkey increases its purchases

(Reuters) - India's share of Russian Urals oil shipments in September declined from August amid refinery maintenance, while Turkey increased purchases due to a shortage of sour barrels in the Mediterranean, according to traders, LSEG data and Reuters calculations.

Urals, KEBCO and Siberian Light grade loadings from the ports of Primorsk, Ust-Luga and Novorossiysk in September rose to 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.8 million bpd in August.

India accounted for about 50% of September-loading Urals cargoes, down from nearly 65% in August, according to LSEG data and Reuters calculations. Most of those cargoes will arrive to Indian ports in October.

India's refiners complained about a rise in Urals prices in August and said they planned to cut buying of September-loading volumes. Autumn refinery maintenance in India also contributed to the reduction in demand.

Indian purchases of September-loading Russian Urals are seen slightly above 1 million bpd compared with 1.1 million bpd in August, according to LSEG data.

The decline in Indian imports allowed Turkey to increase its purchases. Turkey's share in September-loading Urals cargoes rose to nearly 20% of the total from 12% for August-loading cargoes, according to the data.

Turkey purchased about 400,000 bpd of September-loading Urals oil compared with about 200,000 bpd in August, according to LSEG data.

Turkey hasn't impose sanctions on Russia and its refineries have continued to be leading buyers of Urals oil since spring 2022.

A shortage of sour barrels in the Mediterranean region due to a European Union embargo on Russian oil and a Kurdistan oil exports outage encouraged Turkish refiners to buy Urals oil, two traders in the Mediterranean market said.

Bulgaria, which is allowed to continue Russian oil imports under EU embargo terms, accounted for 8% of September supplies, little changed from its share in August, Reuters calculations showed.

China's share was slightly up in September to 7% of supplies, or about 150,000 bpd, from about 5%, or just below 100,000 bpd, in August, the data showed.

The final destination of about a quarter of September-loading Urals cargoes is yet to be determined, traders said.

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