Refined products consumption in the first quarter decreased by 7.2 per cent to 112,000 barrels a day (b/d) compared with January-March 1994, largely due to the continuing aftermath of last year’s economic crisis, according to state petroleum sector sources. However, the smuggling of Iraqi gas-oil despite UN sanctions also continues to undermine official sales figures, state and private sector sources say.

Preliminary indications for the first four months show a recovery in overall demand. However, the sharp rises last month are largely explained by the slump in consumption 12 months ago following huge prices increases introduced by the government in its 5 April 1994 austerity package.

White products consumption fell by 7 per cent in the first quarter to 70,000 b/d compared with January-March 1994, according to the state sources.

The state sector sources say first quarter consumption of gasoline declined by 11.6 per cent to 15,640 b/d, as against the 10.2 per cent estimate from the private sector sources.

Imports of crude oil decreased by 2.4 per cent in the first quarter to a total of 104,000 b/d compared with January-March 1994, according to the general directorate of petroleum affairs. However, the total value of imports increased by 13 per cent to $660.6 million over the period, according to provisional data from the State Institute of Statistics.

Domestic crude production declined by 7 per cent over the period to 17,210 b/d, according to the general directorate. Output by the country’s leading domestic producer, the state Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), declined by 3.8 per cent to 12,110 b/d. That of the other independent private producers, led by Shell, also fell by 13.4 per cent to 5,100 b/d.