Concern grows that increased Turkish biomass exports originate from Russia

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A European-Union (EU)-imposed ban on imports of woody biomass from Russia has resulted in a seven-fold spike in Turkey's exports of wood pellets to EU Member States.
This has caused concern that the bulk could be recertified material from Russia, Montel reported.
The embargo was imposed in April 2022 as part of the EU's fifth round of sanctions against Russia. At that time, Turkey exported an average 2,200 tonnes per month of wood pellets to EU destinations. From June, this volume jumped to 10,000 tonnes per month, and then 16,000 tonnes in September, according to figures from Eurostat.
In comparison, prior to the ban, Russia exported an average of 153,000 tonnes per month to EU nations before the ban. Volumes had dropped to zero by September.
Most of the exports from Turkey went to Bulgaria and Italy.
A Scandinavian biomass trader told Montel “Turkey has become a very large exporter of wood pellets,” and added it would have been "strange" for the nation to be able to raise production volumes by so much so quickly.
He added it was “conceivable” that Russian wood pellets were being reloaded at Turkish ports, recertified as Turkish origin and then shipped to “some less scrupulous” buyers in Europe.
A Kyiv-based biomass trader – who works closely with Turkish exporters – told Montel there could be some reloadings of Russian pellets, but that this might be coupled with a likely upturn in domestic production.
“The skyrocketing price for biomass opens doors for very exotic options,” he said, adding wood pellets from Turkey were commanding prices of EUR 270-300/t.
“There are some wood reserves in Turkey, so they might use local wood materials,” he said.
However, no reliable production or export data was available in Turkey, according to Istanbul-based Montel-Foreks.
At the same time, repackaging Russian pellets for the European market would be a costly business, the Kyiv-based trader said.
He noted Italian buyers – for example – would have to pay as much as EUR 500/t if they were purchasing reloaded Russian material, pointing to high logistics and port-handling costs.
Front-month wood pellet prices were seen last at USD 380.33/t (EUR 362/t) on the EEX, down from October highs of nearly USD 467/t but still 76% higher on the year.
The first biomass trader said this was due largely to the drop in deliveries from Russia, which had previously met around 10-20% of Europe’s supply for power generators, predominantly in Denmark, the UK and the Netherlands.

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