Iraq calls for US to seize oil tanker off Texas

Baghdad refiles complaint to US court against Kurdish tanker off Texas

10mn barrels of crude were exported via Kurdistan-Turkey pipeline.
10mn barrels of crude were exported via Kurdistan-Turkey pipeline.

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Iraq's oil ministry refiled a complaint in a U.S. court asking American authorities to seize a cargo of Kurdish oil off the coast of Texas, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

The new request was filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division, in Houston, following an earlier complaint launched in July.

The Kurdish oil tanker is one of several that have left laden with oil pumped from Kurdistan and is estimated to carry 1mn barrels of crude, worth about US $100mn.

Baghdad says all foreign sales of Iraqi crude must go through the central government's state marketing group calling the selling of crude oil from the mostly autonomous region in northern Iraq illegal. It has also threatened to take legal action against any potential buyers.

An order from the US same court  to seize the shipment if it comes ashore was overruled last month on technical grounds "related to jurisdiction" after it was contested by the Kurdish Regional Government.

The KRG has 21 days to respond to the new suit to avoid a default judgment against it by the court.

Meanwhile, KRG official said there wasn't a legal basis for Baghdad's claims. The tanker remains parked off the coast of Texas.

Earlier this year, crude oil from Kurdistan was being shipped via pipeline to Ceyhan, Turkey, on the Mediterranean Sea with the Turkey's energy minister saying a totla of 10mn barrels on 13 tankers have been so far exported via Ceyhan.

At least one of these tankers has reportedly offloaded its crude to a buyer in Israel, while 600,000 barrels of crude were delivered to Hungarian oil and gas company MOL Group at the Croatian port of Omisalj in August.

The first tanker that left Kurdistand with crude appears still to be off the shore of Morocco with its cargo not being offloaded yet.



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