Iraq warns firms against dealing with oil smuggled by Kurds

A still image from video taken by a U.S. Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft shows the oil tanker United Kalavyrta (also known as the United Kalavrvta), which is carrying a cargo of Kurdish crude oil, approaching Galveston, Texas July 25, 2014. (Reuters)

Iraq warned companies on Tuesday against dealing with oil smuggled from the Kurdish region and said it would ensure such cargoes are seized, as U.S. authorities were set to seize a shipment from Iraqi Kurdistan that had anchored off the coast of Texas.

“The ministry will keep chasing any shipments in future to legally target any buyers and seize the crude shipments offered for sale,” Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the head of the Kurdish parliament’s energy committee said Iraq’s Kurdish region had the right to keep selling oil as long as the Baghdad government keeps cutting its budget.

“The KRG [Kurdish Regional Government] has the right to sell oil if Baghdad continues to cut KRG’s budget, disrupt the livelihood of its people and impose an embargo,” Sherko Jawdat said.

U.S. authorities were set on Tuesday to seize a cargo of crude worth more than $100 million from Iraqi Kurdistan thta anchored off the Texas coast after a judge approved a request from Baghdad, raising the stakes in the oil dispute between Iraq’s central government and the Kurdish autonomous region.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42