Friday, April 5, 2013

Iraqi Kurdistan Sells First Crude

Erbil Defies Baghdad

The first cargo of Iraqi Kurdistan's crude oil has been sold on the international market, Reuters reported today.

The crude pumped from Genel Energy's Taq Taq oilfield was trucked over Iraq's northern border with Turkey and sold via tender for loading in April. The cargo sold was 30,000 tons worth around $22 million. S.E.T. Select Energy GmbH, an energy firm based in Hamburg, Germany, won the tender issued by intermediary Powertrans. (Reuters, 5 April)

The direct trade of crude and condensate by truck through Turkey has been rising steadily and now stands at close to 50,000 barrels per day. Exports of Taq Taq crude by truck are now more than 25,000 bpd.

The move by the autonomous Kurdish government to export the crude directly is expected to increase tensions between Erbil and Baghdad.
A senior Iraqi official said last month the trade between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkey threatens to split Iraq in two.

Oil lies at the heart of a long-running feud between the central government and Kurdistan. Baghdad says it alone has the authority to control exports and sign contracts, while the Kurds say their right to do so is enshrined in Iraq's federal constitution. Genel Energy expects to export oil by pipeline from its fields in Iraqi Kurdistan by 2014 (Reuters).

File photo: A worker working at an oil pipe at Taq Taq oil field in Erbil (Azad Lashkari/Reuters)

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