US Dismisses KRG Tanker Case

By John Lee.

An American court has dismissed an attempt by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to overturn a previous decision against its planned sale of oil to a US-based customer.

The case arose when Iraq’s central government sued to seize a tanker loaded with crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan -- the United Kalavryta (pictured) -- off the coast of Texas.

According to the court ruling, "the KRG mooted this appeal through its voluntary decision to discharge the Cargo in Israel. In so doing, the KRG severely weakened its argument for equitable relief."

Laith Al-Shaher, director general of the Iraqi Oil Ministry’s legal department, told Bloomberg that Baghdad won’t rule out taking further legal action against the Kurds if they continue trying to export oil that the central government considers to belong to the whole nation.

In a statement, the KRG's Ministry of Natural Resources said:

Yesterday's procedural decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals means that the Ministry of Oil will finally be forced to drop its baseless lawsuit, because the KRG oil that the Ministry tried to seize has already been sold and delivered.  

"Although the KRG believes that the case should have been dismissed earlier, and for different reasons, the state of play remains the same:  there is no prohibition on the KRG’s export of oil to the United States or elsewhere, and the KRG will continue to export hydrocarbons as the Iraqi Constitution permits.”

(Sources: US Dept of Justice, KRG, Bloomberg)

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