By John Lee.
The Italian Industry Ministry has issued a letter to refineries and traders, warning of legal action that may be taken by Iraq's State Oil Marketing Company in the event of purchasing oil from the Kurdish region.
At the time of writing, the cargo vessel United Leadership was moored in the Mediterranean, laden with 1 million barrels of oil taken from storage tanks at the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
Reuters interviewed an anonymous Italian trader who noted that Italy's warning was a sign of how seriously the country takes its oil and gas business with Baghdad.
Referring to oil on the United Leadership, the letter noted that, "SOMO reserves the right to take legal action against the buyer of such a cargo."
The Kurdish region's exploitation of newly found oil fields has caused huge controversy, with Baghdad claiming the move is unconstitutional and illegal. By contrast, the KRG argue that the exploitation of oil in the Kurdish provinces is their constitutional right, while several observers have noted that the constitution is too vague on the matter.