Turkish officials close to their country’s energy policy have announced that a total of 8 million barrels of oil have been exported via the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
According to officials, while some buyers have been deterred by legal threats from Baghdad, the number of buyers is in fact increasing. The Kurds have taken to using smaller tankers than the 1 million capacity vessels normally used, such as the SuezMax and the United Emblem.
One official conceded it was harder to sell the larger shipments, as the 11th tanker departed Ceyhan with a 250,000 barrel cargo. An observer noted that there appears to be at least one regular buyer of the oil.
Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani has announced coming reforms for the Kurdish security forces, most famous for the Peshmerga.
The reforms would bring all units under a single unified command. In the past, the Minister of the Peshmerga did not have control over all troops, and the force was in some cases divided in part due to political divisions between the KRG’s two main parties, the KDP and PUK.
The report issued to the Kurdish President also noted other issues that would be resolved during the reformation over the next six months.
The Kurdish Minister of Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami (pictured) announced that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has sold 7 million barrels of oil on the international market. He remains confident that the KRG will win the ability to sell oil in the US markets.
Currently, the KRG produces 300,000 barrels of oil per day and it is expected that the figure will reach 500,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of the year.
The KRG has been successful in delivering oil to some international clients. The most recent success for the KRG was the delivery of oil to Croatia for MOL. Two tankers,the United Kalavrta and Minerva Joy, remain off US shores until the dispute between Erbil and Baghdad is resolved.
Increased oil production in Kurdistan has also eliminated previous fuel shortages following the June offensive of thr Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
A Kurdish oil tanker has arrived at the Croatian port of Omisalj and is preparing to begin offloading its cargo in the coming days.
This delivery represents a success for the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in finding a buyer for their crude following legal threats from Baghdad. These threats have previously deterred some potential buyers.
The Hungarian oil company, MOL Group, is listed as the buyer of the shipment.
For the most part, the buyers of Kurdish oil have remained anonymous. Two oil tankers carrying Kurdish oil still remain off the coast of the United States until the dispute between Erbil and Baghdad is resolved.
Following recent gains of Kurdish security forces, in addition to a recent setback in Jalawla in northern Diyala, American officials have hinted that various government agencies have begun supplying Kurdistan with weapons to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
To date, America has mostly focused its attention on supporting the central government’s security forces, although ongoing US air strikes have limited ISIL’s attempt to establish a front targeting Erbil.
The move follows calls from the Kurdish President for the Americans to assist the “overstretched” Kurdish security forces. It is believed that the American government is making progress on establishing an official arms supply program for the Kurds.
After renewed consultation with the relevant national security authorities, the Lufthansa Group has decided to resume flights to Erbil in northern Iraq from Monday.
Erbil lies well outside the direct crisis zone in Iraq, and flights to and from the city will be routed to avoid overflying the zone.
Lufthansa flies twice-weekly to Erbil, and a further daily flight is operated by Austrian Airlines. For the time being, however, transit traffic to Asia and the Middle East, for example, will continue to detour Iraqi airspace.
The Lufthansa Group is in close and regular contact with the relevant national security authorities, also in Iraq. Based on its assessment, there is currently no danger in overflying Iraq. Nevertheless, the Lufthansa Group has decided to avoid the Iraqi airspace above the section controlled by Isis for the time being.