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

News

USCG Tall Ship Sailing to the Bahamas

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is scheduled to arrive at Berth 14 at Prince George Wharf in Nassau, Bahamas on Thursday, May 28 as part of its 2015 cadet summer training deployment.

WCI Applauds Increased USACE Funding

Today WCI applauded the leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Senate Energy & Water Development (E&WD) Appropriations Subcommittee

SoCal Beach Cleanup Could Take Months

The U.S. Coast Guard captain overseeing cleanup of oil spilled from a pipeline rupture that closed two California state beaches and fouled offshore waters near

Middle East

WFP: Aid Cargo for Yemen will be Delivered After Ship Docks

The World Food Programme will deliver a cargo of Iranian aid for Yemen once the ship carrying it reaches Djibouti's port, the U.N agency said on Friday. Earlier

Iran Aid Ship Reaches Djibouti Waters, Waits to Enter Port

An Iranian aid ship has reached the outskirts of Djibouti's port and is waiting for a permit to enter after Tehran agreed to an international inspection of the vessel with goods for Yemen,

Italy: 900 Migrants Rescued at Sea, One Dead

More than 900 migrants were rescued in one day from three overcrowded boats en route to Europe from North Africa, an Italian coast guard official said on Thursday.

 
 
Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.1129 sec (9 req/sec)