KURDISTAN OIL: NO VIOLATIONS
A Texas court Monday threw out an order to seize one million barrels of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, potentially opening the way for its delivery to the U.S.
The Texas court's decision determines the fate of a $100-million cargo of crude oil which has been stranded in the Gulf of Mexico since late July, the victim of a long-standing dispute between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government over oil sales.
The one-million-barrel United Kalavrvta tanker, currently parked near the port of Galveston in Texas, is one of a number of sizable oil shipments exported from Iraqi Kurdistan through a new pipeline to Turkey in defiance of Baghdad, which claims sole jurisdiction over Iraq's natural resources and views the KRG's bid for economic autonomy as a threat to its authority.
The federal government has acted aggressively to block Kurdish oil sales, threatening to blacklist and take legal action against anyone involved in its sale.
When it became apparent the United Kalvrvta intended to deliver its cargo to Texas in late June, Baghdad secured a court order in Texas to seize the oil if it came ashore.
However, in a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Gray Miller granted a motion from the Kurdistan Regional Government to vacate the order.
"Kurdistan's unauthorized export of oil over land—and later overseas—may violate Iraqi law, but it doesn't violate U.S. maritime law," the Judge said in his ruling.
The judge gave Baghdad 10 days to amend its complaint, leaving the federal government with an avenue to potentially keep pressing its case.
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