FILE PHOTO: Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan meet in Sochi

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan meet in Sochi

Reuters:  A U.S. threat to hit financial firms doing business with Russia with sanctions has chilled Turkish-Russian trade, disrupting or slowing some payments for both imported oil and Turkish exports, according to seven sources familiar with the matter.

The U.S. executive order in December did not explicitly target energy but it has complicated some Turkish payments for Russian crude as well as Russian payments for a broader range of Turkish exports, the sources said.

U.S. sanctions aim to reduce the Kremlin's revenue and disrupt its war in Ukraine without choking Russian oil flows to global markets, to avoid a politically sensitive jump in U.S. gasoline prices with President Joe Biden seeking re-election in November.

However, similar payment problems to those now faced by Turkey have already disrupted Russian oil supplies to India and complicated those to the United Arab Emirates and China, according to oil traders.

Russia is the top crude and diesel exporter to energy-poor NATO member Turkey, supplying 8.9 million metric tons of crude and 9.4 million tons of diesel to its Black Sea neighbour in the 11 months to November.

The emerging payment issues are due to Turkish banks reviewing business and tightening compliance with Russian clients, four of the sources said. They have not disrupted Turkey's crude supplies, delaying only a small number of cargoes, two oil industry sources said.

A source with a Russian oil major said Russian oil exporters have not received payments from Turkey for two to three weeks.

"It has become difficult to make some energy payments to Russia, especially after the new sanctions (threat) at the end of December. Some payments were disrupted," a Turkish source familiar with the payments issue said.

"The originally agreed upon method had to be changed or the payment had to be postponed, but the shipment continued. There may be problems on a cargo-by-cargo basis," the source said.

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