Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) has issued a statement suggesting it will take legal action against companies exporting crude oil without dealing with the central government, including the confiscation of cargoes and the filing of lawsuits against sellers, buyers and transporters.
The statement reads as follows:
"In accordance with the provisions of Laws No. 101 of 1976 and 272 of 1987, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil announces that the Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) is the sole legally authorised entity that has the exclusive right to export and import crude oil, gas and oil products from/to Iraq.
"Consequently, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and SOMO, as its affiliate, shall reserve the right to take all legal actions against any company or entity that may deal with bodies other than SOMO, in addition to the confiscation of cargoes smuggled across borders as well as suing sellers, purchasers and transporters of such cargoes inside and outside Iraq."
Earlier this month, Genel Energy started exporting crude oil by truck directly into Turkey from its Taq Taq oil field in Iraqi Kurdistan, after official exports from the region were halted until the federal authorities pay the 350 billion dinars ($300 million) dues owed to international companies working in the Kurdish area.
(Sources: SOMO, Reuters, Associated Press)