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

Tanker Trends

APM Maasvlakte II Terminal Opens

APM Terminals Maasvlakte II held a ceremony  to celebrate the opening of the world’s most automated container terminal.   The  event that was attended by Dutch

MISC Says AET Tankers Unit Not for Sale

MISC Berhad issued a statement today addressing recent market speculation that the company is set to sell its wholly owned petroleum tanker subsidiary AET Tankers.

Strong Tanker Market Extends Peak Season High Earnings

Tanker earnings for crude oil tankers have climbed to new strong levels in the first quarter of 2015, with averages not seen since 2008, the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) reported.

News

Goliat FPSO in Norway

The Goliat FPSO was successfully floated off the heavy-lift vessel, Dockwise Vanguard, in the fjord outside Hammerfest, says Eni Norge    The Goliat platform has arrived in Hammerfest,

BIMCO Welcomes EU Decision on Migrants

BIMCO has stated today that it appreciates the new efforts by EU leaders to reduce increasing reliance on merchant shipping to rescue the growing numbers of

Long Beach, Los Angeles ports host forum to gather input

More than 100 cargo owners, trucking firm leaders, longshore labor, marine terminals and other goods movement industry representatives turned out Wednesday for

Middle East

Iran Moves Ships, Reducing Tensions Near Yemen

A flotilla of nine Iranian military and cargo ships that U.S. officials feared was carrying arms to strife-torn Yemen sailed northeast in the direction of Iran on Friday,

Rescue Ships Head for Libya, as Migrants Die Also in Balkans

British and German warships made ready to sail for waters off Libya as Europe ramped up rescue operations in the Mediterranean after up to 900 desperate migrants

Five Minutes with Halul Offshore CEO, Vivek Seth

Last month Maritime Reporter spent some time with Vivek Seth, CEO, of Qatar-based Halul Offshore  Services Company, for his insights on the impact of low oil prices in the Middle East and beyond.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Winch
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: 0.1506 sec (7 req/sec)