Iraqi Kurdish Pipeline Stopped; Tanker in Limbo off Texas

Posted by Eric Haun
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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 autonomous region's pipeline to the Mediterranean has been shut for the past week.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has not launched any oil tankers from the Turkish port of Ceyhan in over a month as Baghdad has moved to block the vessels from unloading at foreign ports.

The latest set-back comes as Iraqi Kurdistan's increasingly bitter legal and diplomatic struggle with Baghdad over oil sales threatens to spill over into the United States.

Arguing all oil sales outside its control are illegal, Baghdad this week tried to get a Texas court to seize 1 million barrels of oil aboard the United Kalavrvta tanker, which has been anchored off the port of Galveston since the weekend.

But after a U.S. judge on Tuesday said she lacked jurisdiction given the ship's distance from the shore, the KRG hit back at Baghdad, filing a letter with the Texas court arguing its sales are allowed under the Iraqi constitution.

"The federal government cannot win, because our crude is legally produced, shipped, exported, and sold in accordance with the rights of the Kurdistan Region as set forth in the Iraqi constitution," KRG Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami said.

The United Kalavrvta tanker holds more than 1 million barrels of crude worth more than $100 million at international prices. It was still anchored off Galveston on Wednesday, according to Reuters AIS Live ship tracking.

Baghdad has cut the KRG's budget since the start of the year over the oil sales dispute, heaping pressure on the region of roughly 5 million people that has enjoyed relative stability since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Pipeline Stopped
The dispute over exports reflects Iraqi Kurds' emboldened steps toward seizing greater political and economic autonomy, with oil sales seen as central to the Kurdish dreams of independence despite Baghdad's opposition.

Arbil has begun selling its oil via a new pipeline through Turkey in May, but so far has only successfully sold and delivered one tanker filled with oil from the line. Baghdad has threatened oil traders and put diplomatic pressure on governments not to buy the Kurdish crude.

One Kurdish tanker, the United Leadership, has been anchored off Morocco for almost two months. Another, the United Emblem, has sailed to Asia, and is now anchored off Malaysia.

Unable to deliver its crude, storage tanks for Kurdish crude at the Turkish Mediterranean port have Ceyhan have backed up and are now at capacity, forcing the KRG to shut-off its pipeline.

"There is no flow at the moment and it has been stopped about a week ago because the storage tanks at Ceyhan are full, even the back-up ones," one source familiar with the matter said.

Washington has publicly opposed direct oil sales by the autonomous region, fearing they could contribute to the break-up of Iraq as it struggles to contain the Sunni Islamist insurgency led by the Islamic State.

The Kurdish region's President Massoud Barzani has called on his parliament to ready a referendum on independence after the latest violence in the country.

Kurds have also succeeded in cementing their control of land and oil reserves around the resource-rich city of Kirkuk, while Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite Arab who has been an adversary of Iraqi Kurds, has fallen out of favour in Washington.

The United has stopped short of banning U.S. companies from buying the oil while warning them of potential legal risks.

Washington has been pushing the KRG and Baghdad to agree a system that would allow both sides to sell crude, splitting revenues between the autonomous region and the central government. But the two sides remain far apart.

(
By Humeyra Pamuk and David Sheppard; Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun in Istanbul, editing by William Hardy)

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

Energy

GasLog Post 4Q 2014 Results

GasLog Ltd. and its subsidiaries an international owner, operator and manager of liquefied natural gas carriers, today reported its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended December 31,

Petrobras Downgrade Shakes Market

Moody's shocked bond investors this week with a surprise two-notch downgrade that put Brazilian oil company Petrobras in junk territory. The move was seen by some investors as overly assertive,

Brightoil Reports Steady Growth in Interim Results

Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Limited announced its interim results for the six months ended December 31, 2014, reporting steady growth over the period.   During the period,

News

China's Maritime Advances Worry US

The Director of U.S. National Intelligence, James Clapper, has expressed his concern at the progress of China in maritime zones it shares with its neighbors, accused

British Queen to Name New Ship

Queen Elizabeth II will christen P&O Cruises’ new flagship Britannia in Southampton, England, on March 10. She will be accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Berenberg in $1.1bln Box Bid

The world's second-oldest bank Joh. Berenberg Gossler & Co. KG is lining up a new fund worth EUR 1bn ($1.1bn) for the containership sector.   A report appeared

Government Update

LA, Long Beach Ports Cooperation Approved

Federal regulators approve expanded working pact for Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles to cooperate on congestion relief   The ports of Long Beach and

Mexico Approves 5 Shallow Water Areas in Round One Oil Tender

Mexico has approved the terms for five shallow water areas containing around 355 million barrels of oil equivalent as part of its Round One tender to open up the country's oil fields,

Dredging Project to Protect Virginia Shoreline

Outer Continental Shelf sand will protect infrastructure, restore dunes and habitat   The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Naval Air Station Oceana at Dam Neck,

Middle East

Keels Laid for Two Aluminum OSVs

Triangle Marine Services and Marine Core & Charter host keel laying ceremony for two Aluminum Fast Offshore Support Vessels   UAE-based shipbuilder Triangle Marine

Propulsion Systems Ordered for Qatar Coastguard Vessels

Rolls-Royce waterjets and MTU diesels to power 17 new patrol boats for the Qatar Coastguard   Rolls-Royce has secured a £15.8 million contract to supply Rolls-Royce

Abu Dhabi Ship Building to Deliver 3 UAE Warships by 2016

Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company will deliver three Baynunah warships to the United Arab Emirates Navy by 2016 and is in discussions with other buyers to sell more, its chief executive said on Monday.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair 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: 0.1422 sec (7 req/sec)