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

Tanker Trends

Top Ships Enters 3 New Charters

TOP Ships Inc., an international owner and operator of modern, fuel efficient "ECO" MR tanker vessels focusing on the transportation of petroleum products, announced

US Crude Oil Exports Hit 15-year High

U.S. crude oil exports reached 288,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May, the highest levels since April 1999, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.

Iraqi Kurdish Pipeline Stopped; Tanker in Limbo off Texas

Iraqi Kurdistan's attempts to export oil independently of Baghdad hit another obstacle on Wednesday, as a Turkish energy official and industry sources said the

News

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares 3Q Dividend

The Board of Directors of Exxon Mobil Corporation yesterday declared a cash dividend of 69 cents per share on the Common Stock, payable on September 10, 2014 to

FortisBC Set to Expand its Tilbury LNG Facility

FortisBC Energy Inc. today selected Bechtel Canada Co. (Bechtel) as the contractor for its Tilbury LNG Facility Expansion Project in Delta, B.C. (Project). The

Port Manatee's 3 projects to get underway

Port Manatee has been awarded a $1,837,500 security grant, allowing the port to proceed with three significant projects. The award, the second-highest for any

Middle East

Iraqi Kurdish Pipeline Stopped; Tanker in Limbo off Texas

Iraqi Kurdistan's attempts to export oil independently of Baghdad hit another obstacle on Wednesday, as a Turkish energy official and industry sources said the

USNS Ship Rescues Nine in Gulf of Oman

'USNS Richard E. Byrd' (T-AKE 4), a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship, rescued 9 crew members from a Yemeni-flagged cargo vessel 'Asaed' that had lost power,

Iraqi Kurdish Oil Nears US Port Despite Concern in Washington

A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is just one day away from arriving at a U.S. port, according to ship tracking satellites, despite Washington's

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
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: 0.1102 sec (9 req/sec)