HOUSTON - A U.S. court on Monday threw out an order to seize some 1 million barrels of disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude oil from a tanker near Texas, a move that could allow the cargo to be delivered and end a nearly month-long impasse. The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying about $100 million worth of Kurdish crude, has been anchored in the Gulf of Mexico for weeks, as the Iraqi region of Kurdistan wages a legal battle over ownership with the central government of Iraq.
The Kurdistan Regional Government has claimed the right to export oil under Iraq's constitution and said it plans to deliver the oil soon. Baghdad says all oil sales outside its control are illegal. The tanker is too large to enter the port of Galveston near Houston, and companies that provide offloading services to bring cargoes ashore have steered clear of the dispute. The Kurds say control over their oil is crucial for their own dreams of independence and because Baghdad has responded weakly to Islamist militants who overran parts of the country in recent months.
The oil tanker SCF Byrranga, which was renamed the United Kalavrvta in March, is seen off the Isle of Arran, Scotland, in this photo taken on February 21.
First published August 26 2014, 2:01 AM