Israel Accepts 1st Delivery of Disputed Kurdish Oil

Posted by Joseph R. Fonseca
Sunday, June 22, 2014

A tanker delivered a cargo of disputed crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan's new pipeline for the first time on Friday in Israel, despite threats by Baghdad to take legal action against any buyer.

The SCF Altai tanker arrived at Israel's Ashkelon port early on Friday morning, ship tracking and industry sources said. By the evening, the tanker began unloading the Kurdish oil, a source at the port said.

The Kurdistan Regional Government said on Saturday, a day after the news was first reported, it did not deal with Israel in the sale.

"The KRG categorically refutes the claim that it has sold oil to Israel," a spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Resources said in an email. "The KRG has not sold oil either directly or indirectly to such a destination."

The spokesman did not comment on questions asking who the KRG had sold the oil to, or how crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan had been delivered to Israel.

Reuters was not able to confirm whether the KRG sold the oil directly to a buyer in Israel or to another party. Oil cargoes often change hands multiple times before reaching their final destination.

In a statement on its website earlier on Saturday, the KRG said: "We are proud of this milestone achievement, which was accomplished despite almost three weeks of intimidation and baseless interferences from Baghdad against the tanker-ship owners and the related international traders and buyers."

Securing the first sale of oil from its independent pipeline is crucial for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as it seeks greater financial independence from war-torn Iraq.

But the new export route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, designed to bypass Baghdad's federal pipeline system, has created a bitter dispute over oil sale rights between the central government and the Kurds.

The United States, Israel's closest ally, does not support independent oil sales by the Kurdish region and has warned possible buyers against accepting the cargoes.

Israeli leaders have been alarmed in recent months, however, by signs of a possible rapprochement between the United States and Iran.

Officials said Israel was keen to build good ties with the Kurds, hoping to expand its limited diplomatic network in the Middle East and broaden options for energy supplies.

It was not clear whether the crude in the SCF Altai has been sold to a local refiner or was slated to discharge into storage, potentially for another destination.

"We do not comment on the origin of crude oil being imported by the private refineries in Israel," an Israeli energy ministry spokeswoman said.

The port authority at Ashkelon declined to comment.

FIRST SALES

The first tanker to carry Kurdish pipeline oil is still homeless after loading in May. After a false start sailing to the United States, the United Leadership tanker turned back towards Morocco, where it is anchored after local authorities refused to let it discharge for the Mohammedia refinery.

The SCF Altai did not arrive directly from Ceyhan.

The United Emblem was the second tanker to load crude at Ceyhan from the KRG pipeline at the start of last week. It then made a ship-to-ship transfer near Malta to the SCF Altai during June 14-16, several Maltese shipping and market sources said and ship tracking showed.

A third tanker was loading one million barrels of oil from the pipeline, a source at the Turkish ministry said on Friday.

Several market sources said the United Emblem tanker, which loaded the second batch, had gone back to Ceyhan to load the third cargo. Ship tracking showed the tanker berthed at one of the Ceyhan jetties on Friday.

Israeli refineries have taken Kurdish crude oil before but in small volumes, which were shipped to Turkish ports by truck. Some oil has also been stored there.

The KRG began exporting a small volume of its Taq Taq crude grade by truck to Turkey in early 2013 and then added another grade Shaikan at the start of this year.

Israel has less to lose than other U.S. or European refiners, because it has no contract for Iraqi oil. Iraq participates in the boycott of Israel along with many other Arab states.

Italy has warned traders and refineries about the legal risks of importing the oil. Large companies with oilfield interests in southern Iraq have stayed clear, although a joint refining venture by Rosneft and BP used a cargo of trucked oil in May.

The KRG's pipeline is currently pumping around 120,000 barrels per day to Ceyhan. The region's natural resources minister is aiming to export 400,000 bpd by year-end.

Emboldened by its takeover of the major Kirkuk oilfield in northern Iraq, the KRG is also openly talking about the potential of exporting this oil through its pipeline as well after Kirkuk's usual pipeline outlet was sabotaged.

(Additional reporting by Crispian Balmer and Steven Scheer in Jerusalem, Amir Cohen in Ashkelon, Orhan Coskun in Ankara, Ron Bousso in London and David Sheppard in Arbil; Editing by Jane Baird and Stephen Powell)

Maritime Reporter March 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Contracts

USA Urged Not to Delay Arctic Drilling

The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, reports AP.

JV Wins $2bln Freeport LNG Contract in US

A joint venture (JV) between CB&I, Chiyoda International and Zachry Industrial has won a contract worth over $2bn from FLNG Liquefaction 3 for a liquefied natural

Viking Bags Charter Deal for AHTS Brage Viking

Viking Supply Ships has entered into a contract with an Oil major for the charter of “Brage Viking” commencing 1stof April 2015. The duration is for 2 years and 8 months firm,

Legal

Scandlines Ferry Back in Service by End June

The damaged Scandlines ferry M/V Prinsesse Benedikte is being repaired at the Polish shipyard Remontowa and is expected to be ready before the end of June 2015.

Greece Will Sell Piraeus Port Stake in Weeks

The Greek government will sell its majority stake in the port of Piraeus within weeks, the country's deputy prime minister told China's official Xinhua news agency,

US Navy to Roll out Underwater Spy Satellites

The robotic series that remade crusade in skies will shortly extend to a low sea, with underwater view “satellites,” drone-launching pods on a sea building and unmanned ships sport submarines,

Energy

USA Urged Not to Delay Arctic Drilling

The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, reports AP.

Feds Delay LNG’s Port Ambrose Application

The US Coast Guard and the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) have temporarily suspended their review of the proposed Port Ambrose deep-water LNG import terminal.

Austal Graduates 48 4-Yr Apprentices

Austal USA combined two classes to graduate a total of 48 members of Austal’s cutting-edge four-year apprenticeship program yesterday at a formal ceremony held at the Arthur R.

News

Gulf Bridge Express Service to End

The Gulf Bridge Express Service will shortly be terminated with the last roundtrip voyage being MV Saint Nikolaos voyage 00008S, ETA New Orleans on April 22, 2015.

Obangame Express 2015 Concludes in the Gulf of Guinea

Maritime forces from Gulf of Guinea nations, Europe, South America, and the United States and several regional and international organizations concluded the multinational maritime exercise,

Scandlines Ferry Back in Service by End June

The damaged Scandlines ferry M/V Prinsesse Benedikte is being repaired at the Polish shipyard Remontowa and is expected to be ready before the end of June 2015.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1430 sec (7 req/sec)