Tanker with Disputed Kurdish Oil Reappears off Malta
The Neverland tanker has reappeared off the coast of Malta after going off radar near Canada on June 30, when it was chartered by oil trader Vitol carrying Iraqi Kurdish crude oil, Reuters ship-tracking showed on Friday. The tanker had been heading to eastern Canada to discharge the cargo at the end of June when the Federal Court of Canada issued a seizure order for the cargo at the request of Iraq's oil ministry. Iraq alleges the cargo was unlawfully misappropriated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and sold to Vitol. Along with the seizure request made to Canada, the ministry filed a separate claim against Vitol and two subsidiaries for $32.5 million. The tanker appears empty, according to the draft on the ship tracking system.
Rosneft Takes First Shipment of Kurdish Oil
Russian state oil giant Rosneft will buy its first shipment of oil from Iraq's Kurdistan in early April, becoming the first oil major to take Kurdish crude directly into its refining system, trading sources said on Friday. The shipments aboard tanker Minerva Sophia will sail from the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan to Italy's Triest, from where the oil can be taken by pipeline to Rosneft's refineries in Germany. (Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov)
TonenGeneral Imports Japan's First Kurdish Oil Cargo
TonenGeneral imported Japan's first cargo of Kurdish crude from northern Iraq in January, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday. Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region began selling oil directly to world markets in 2015 to get money for its survival and to fight Islamic State. Typically, Kurdish oil, exported via Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, has gone to Europe. TonenGeneral imported about 1 million barrels of Kurdish oil last month, classified as "export blend of Iraqi origin" in data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's (METI). The cargo was delivered to TonenGeneral's refineries in Kawasaki and Chiba, both of them near Tokyo, according to the source and Ministry of Finance data. TonenGeneral declined to comment on the deal.
Iraq Sues Greek Shippers for Transporting Kurdish Oil
Iraq said it filed a lawsuit against Greek shipping company Marine Management Services (MMS) for its role in the export of crude from the Kurdistan region, which Baghdad says is illegal. The case is the latest move by Baghdad to deter customers and thwart independent exports of crude from the autonomous Kurdistan region. The federal government claims sole authority to manage sales of all the oil in Iraq. The Iraqi oil ministry said on Thursday that MMS operated five vessels that had transported oil on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from a Turkish port.
Disputed Kurdish Oil Tanker Moving for 1st Time Since End-July
The tanker carrying $100 million worth of disputed Kurdish crude oil is moving for the first time since July 27, AIS ship tracking data showed on Wednesday. The status of the tanker, called United Kalavrvta, changed to "underway using engine" from "at anchor", but it was still 95 percent full, the data used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters showed. The ship was still in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area, with Galveston still listed as its destination, according to satellite tracking. The ship has been in limbo for weeks after its would-be buyer balked at taking delivery of the cargo. Baghdad has filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court saying exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are illegal, while the KRG argues they are allowed under the Iraqi constitution.
Iraq to Appeal US Court Decision on Kurdish Oil
The Iraqi oil ministry said on Thursday it would challenge a U.S. court decision that stopped U.S. Marshals from seizing some one million barrels of disputed Kurdish oil docked near Texas. On Monday, a U.S. district court ruled in favour of a request by Iraq's Kurdish region that a demand by the Iraqi government for U.S. authorities to seize the Kurdish oil shipment be scrapped. However, the court gave Baghdad 10 days to resubmit its case. "The ministry of oil is emphasising that it is preparing the amended request and will forward it in the required period," the oil ministry said in a statement. "The decision of the court is only to lift the seizure of the shipment while at sea. Therefore they referred to American maritime law.
Tanker Carrying Kurdish Crude Changes Course toward Cyprus
A tanker carrying 300,000 barrels of Kurdish crude oil has changed its destination to Limassol, Cyprus, as it returned from the United States without delivering its disputed cargo to a New Jersey refiner. The Minerva Joy tanker had previously listed its destination as "Gibraltar orders," which usually implies a destination in the Eastern Mediterranean or further east. It changed its destination to "Limassol orders" at around 1600 GMT on Saturday, according to Reuters AIS Live shiptracking. On Aug. 13, the Minerva Joy began sailing eastwards from off the coast of Paulsboro, New Jersey, after refiner Axeon Specialty Products said it would not buy or accept delivery of any cargoes of disputed Kurdish crude oil for its Paulsboro refinery.
DNO Eyes First Kurdistan Crude Shipment
Norwegian firm DNO expects its first shipment of oil from Kurdistan to be sold on the international market by the end of the year and said it was committed to its operations in the region despite the recent flare-up in violence. The firm could until recently only sell oil on the local Iraqi market, at lower prices than it would have got on the international oil market, due to a long constitutional fight between the region and Baghdad over independent oil sales. That changed earlier this month when the Kurdish Regional Government allowed oil firms to seek out international buyers. Oil revenue is a lifeline for the KRG, whose peshmerga fighters are fighting Islamic State militants.
Tanker Carrying Kurdish Oil Reappears Unladen off Israel
A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan reappeared unladen on Aug. 19 about 30 kilometres off the coast of Israel, ship tracking data on Reuters showed. This is the second time the Kamari has appeared in the area in the last two weeks carrying Kurdish oil. The tanker Kamari was partly laden north of Egypt's Sinai on Aug. 17, tracking showed, before it turned off its satellite transponder until early on Aug. 19. It was not possible to determine where the oil had been delivered to or who the buyer was. A spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Natural Resources did not immediately respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment on Wednesday. The KRG has previously denied selling oil to Israel "directly or indirectly".
US Refineries Cease Purchase of Kurdish Oil
U.S. refiners will refrain from buying Kurdish crude oil until a long-running dispute between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan is settled, while Washington urges both sides to set aside their differences and helps them tackle Sunni militants. The two known U.S. buyers of Kurdish crude oil have now rejected delivery of cargoes from tankers near New Jersey and Texas, saying they will not make further purchases until it is determined who has the right to sell the oil: the central government of Iraq or the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). U.S. refiner Axeon Specialty Products was the latest company to turn away a cargo of Kurdish crude oil on Monday. It balked after Baghdad filed a lawsuit over a cargo slated for another U.S. refiner, LyondellBasell NV.
Baghdad Seeks to Have Kurdish Oil Dispute Settled in Iraq
Baghdad wants to settle a high-stakes dispute over $100 million worth of Kurdish crude oil in Iraq's courts, although the oil is sitting in a tanker off the coast of Texas, a U.s. court filing said on Friday. Iraq's central government has also asked Iraq's Federal Supreme Court to block the Kurdistan Regional Government from exporting any crude until its ownership can be determined, said the filing in federal court in Houston. The central government contends it belongs to the country as a whole, not just the Kurdistan region. The latest legal challenge follows Iraq in May bringing criminal charges against the Kurdistan government, alleging theft of oil revenues. However, Kurdistan has failed to appear in court to address the charges, the filing said.
Axeon Imported Kurdish Oil for its US Refinery in June
Axeon Specialty Products said on Friday it received a cargo of Kurdish Shaikan crude oil in June at its Paulsboro refinery in the United States. Several cargoes of the oil have recently reached U.S. soil and Iraq's central government has moved to block independent exports of crude by the Kurdistan Regional Government. "Axeon SP was the importer of record for the June shipment," a company official said. "We purchased this cargo on a delivered Paulsboro, New Jersey basis from a reputable supplier." On Thursday, refiner Lyondell Basell, confirmed it recently purchased "modest quantities" of what public records show is Shaikan crude but said it would scrap further purchases of the disputed oil for the time being. (Reporting By Terry Wade)
Kurdish Crude Oil Tankships: End-Game Still in Doubt
After a legal show-down in Texas this week, the outlook for a handful of tankers holding some $300 million worth of Kurdish oil is not looking good. Seemingly unable to find enough buyers willing to take a risk on million-barrel cargoes of disputed crude, the Kurdish authorities are paying over $75,000 a day to keep all three far-flung vessels afloat. A fourth ship began filling up at a terminal on the Turkish coast on Thursday, potentially adding to the tally, Reuters reported. Unless they can seal last-minute discreet sales or reach some kind of deal with Baghdad over how to share oil revenues, experts say, chances are slim of unloading ships now dotted around the globe, from Texas to Malaysia. In total, they have already been at sea for nearly half a year.
Fifth Tanker of Iraqi Kurdish Oil Loading in Turkey
The fifth cargo of crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was being loaded at Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan on Thursday and the tanker was scheduled to depart on Friday, Turkish energy officials said. The Suezmax tanker Kalamari arrived at the port late on Wednesday, according to a shipping source, and will be carrying one million barrels of crude oil, officials said. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun, Humeyra Pamuk and Julia Payne in London; Editing by Daren Butler)
Kurdish Crude Lightered, Destination Unknown
Part of a Kurdish oil cargo has been offloaded from a Greek-managed tanker into another tanker in the South China Sea, but mystery surrounds the identity of the buyer and where the two tankers are headed. The United Emblem, which is carrying more than 1 million barrels of oil, is one of three tankers loaded with oil from the autonomous Kurdish region, which is trying to sell oil independently. Iraqi Kurdistan is locked in a bitter legal and diplomatic struggle with Baghdad over international oil sales. A U.S. judge on Tuesday refused a request by Baghdad, citing a lack of jurisdiction, to seize 1 million barrels of oil aboard the United Kalavrvta tanker, which has been anchored off the port of Galveston since the weekend.
Update: U.S. to Seize Kurdish Oil from Tanker off Texas
U.S. authorities are set to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan anchored off the Texas coast after a judge approved a request from Baghdad, raising the stakes in an oil sales dispute between Iraq's central government and the autonomous region. The tanker United Kalavrvta, carrying some 1 million barrels of Iraqi Kurdish crude oil worth more than $100 million, arrived near Galveston Bay on Saturday, but has yet to unload its disputed cargo. The U.S. judge's approval of the request from Baghdad deals another blow to the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) attempts to establish its own oil sales, which are seen as a crucial step in the autonomous region's push for independence.
U.S. Marshalls Ordered to Seize Kurdish Oil Cargo off Texas
Acting on a request from the central government in Iraq, a U.S. judge has signed an order telling the U.S. Marshals Service to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan aboard a tanker off the coast of Texas, court filings showed early on Tuesday. To carry out the order from Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the Marshals Service may need to rely on companies in the Galveston Bay area that provide crude offloading services.
Tanker with Iraqi Kurdish Oil Anchors off Texas Port
A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, and must undergo a routine safety inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday before it can unload its cargo, an official said. The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker United Kalavrvta sailed from the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June bound for the U.S. Gulf Coast despite Washington's concerns over independent oil sales from the autonomous region and threats from the Iraqi central government.
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 long-standing concern over independent oil sales from the autonomous region. The United Kalavrvta tanker, which left the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June carrying oil delivered via a new Kurdish pipeline, is due to dock in Galveston, Texas on Saturday, Reuters AIS Live ship tracking shows. A sale of Kurdish crude oil to a U.S. refinery would infuriate Baghdad, which sees such deals as smuggling, and raises questions about Washington's commitment to preventing oil sales from the autonomous region.
Israel Accepts 1st Delivery of Disputed Kurdish Oil
A tanker delivered a cargo of disputed crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan's new pipeline for the first time on Friday in Israel, despite threats by Baghdad to take legal action against any buyer. The SCF Altai tanker arrived at Israel's Ashkelon port early on Friday morning, ship tracking and industry sources said. By the evening, the tanker began unloading the Kurdish oil, a source at the port said. The Kurdistan Regional Government said on Saturday, a day after the news was first reported, it did not deal with Israel in the sale. "The KRG categorically refutes the claim that it has sold oil to Israel," a spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Resources said in an email.
Iraqi Kurdistan Loads Third Oil Cargo in Turkey
A third tanker carrying piped crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is being loaded at Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, a source at the Turkish energy ministry told Reuters On Friday. The source said the loading was expected to be completed by Saturday and that the tanker would be carrying 1 million barrels of Kurdish oil. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Nick Tattersall)
Second Tanker of Kurdish Oil Leaves Turkey Despite Baghdad Protest
A second shipment of Iraqi Kurdish crude has sailed from the Turkish port of Ceyhan, industry and government sources said, increasing the stakes in a battle with Baghdad over control of oil sales from the autonomous region. The United Emblem suezmax tanker, carrying 1 million barrels of crude, sailed from the harbour on Turkey's Mediterranean coast on Monday, Reuters AIS Live ship tracking showed. The shipment is the second to leave Ceyhan in three weeks after arriving by pipeline. At least 2 million barrels of Kurdish crude are now at sea, despite protests from Baghdad that only the central government has the right to sell Iraqi oil.
Italy Warns Oil Traders off Kurdish Tanker
Italy sees possible Iraqi legal action over Kurdish oil; Kurds, Baghdad battle over sales from autonomous region. Tanker of Kurdish oil currently floating off Morocco. Italy has warned oil traders they face potential legal action from Baghdad if they buy disputed exports of crude from Iraqi Kurdistan, in the latest setback for the autonomous region in its struggle with the central government over oil sales. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) loaded its first pipeline shipment of Kurdish oil onto the United Leadership tanker at the Turkish port of Ceyhan two weeks ago, in a move it said was designed to show Baghdad it controls its own oil sales.