Tanker with Piped Iraqi Kurdish Oil U-Turns Away from US

Posted by Eric Haun
Friday, May 30, 2014

A crude oil tanker at the centre of a dispute between Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad has reversed course from its route towards the United States, ship-tracking data showed on Friday, indicating that the shipper may not have a buyer.

The United Leadership oil tanker has become a symbol of a wider conflict between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan over oil sales from the autonomous northern enclave, as it contains the first crude to come out of the region's newly built pipeline into Turkey.

Since loading at the Turkish port of Ceyhan last week, the United Leadership set course for the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to ship-tracking and market sources.

The U.S. State Department said that it did not condone oil sales bypassing Baghdad, and that any buyers could risk a legal suit with the central government.

"We do not support the export or sale of oil absent the appropriate approval of the federal Iraqi government," a U.S. State Department official said.

Despite its position, the U.S. has already imported small quantities of Kurdish oil, though not from the pipeline.

The Kurdish government insisted the oil is going to Europe, when asked about its U.S. destination and that it would be the "first of many such sales".

"One million barrels was sold by auction to both Germany and Italy. No shipment was sent to the United States," Moyad Talab, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Alliance to the central government, told Reuters.

Homeless
But for the moment, the oil appears to be homeless.

The tanker reversed course south of Portugal with a new destination, Gibraltar for orders, Reuters AIS Live ship tracking showed, suggesting that the lifter of the oil has still not found a place to put it.

Until last week, Kurdish oil exports were constrained to a small volume shipped by truck to two Turkish ports on the Mediterranean. Iraq's state marketer made threats of legal action but did not follow through.

But the start of exports out of the Kurdistan's pipeline means much more significant revenues for the region. Iraq swiftly announced that it filed an arbitration case against Turkey with the International Chamber of Commerce.

It also asked its customers to confirm they would never buy exported Kurdish oil, which they have done, an industry source with knowledge of the matter said.

In an effort to lock down the whole process of loading a tanker, Iraq's state marketer SOMO told inspections company, Netherlands-based Saybolt, to cease analysing Kurdish crude, industry sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Saybolt management could not immediately be reached for comment.

Iraq and Kurdistan were trying to reach a political agreement over the oil sales, but five months after the pipeline started up there had still been no final decision, prompting the Kurdish Regional Government to go it alone.

"There is no going back," KRG's Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said this week in parliament. "If we cannot reach a shared understanding, we have other options and we cannot wait forever. Why did we begin selling oil? In order to make Baghdad realise that we can do it."

(By Julia Payne; Additional reporting by Isabel Coles in Arbil, Ned Parker in Baghdad and Timothy Gardner in Washington, Editing by Susan Thomas)

Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

News

USCG Cutter Diligence Returns

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned to Wilmington following a 45-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea. While on patrol, Diligence served as the

Southern California Port Congestion

Hapag-Lloyd informs about the congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that has reached a critical point. I. Several container ships are anchoring

GAC Starts Green Hull Cleaning Operations in Oman

Oman’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs has granted GAC EnvironHull permission to conduct underwater hull cleaning operations using the brush-and-diver-free

Middle East

GAC Starts Green Hull Cleaning Operations in Oman

Oman’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs has granted GAC EnvironHull permission to conduct underwater hull cleaning operations using the brush-and-diver-free

Iran Gas Exports to Europe Would Take at Least 5 Years

Iran would take at least five years to start exporting natural gas to the European Union if sanctions were removed, industry experts said on Wednesday. Last month,

DBR Delivers 42 Gensets to Damen

DBR has delivered the last units of an order totaling 42 marine generator sets for Damen Shipyards Gorinchem. The generator sets will be installed on 14 ASD tugs

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators 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: 0.1107 sec (9 req/sec)