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Financial Times: Turkey Has Called On Us To Lift Kurdish Oil Ban
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The United Kalavrvta tanker, which last month was prevented from offloading $100 million worth of Kurdish oil after arriving in the United States.
Financial Times: Turkey Has Called on US to Lift Kurdish Oil Ban
LONDON – Turkey has called on the US to lift obstacles to the sale of oil by Iraq’s cash-strapped Kurds to help in their war with Islamic State (IS/ISIS) militants, London’s Financial Times reported.
The daily quoted a senior but unidentified Turkish official as saying, “This is urgent: ISIS is now selling its oil, but the Kurds are not allowed to sell their oil,” a reference to oil fields and installations captured by the militants in eastern Syria and near Mosul in northern Iraq.
“Our message for the US is always very clear,” the newspaper quoted the Turkish official as saying. “There is a dispute within Iraq on how to interpret the constitution (over rights to oil revenues) but if outsiders take sides it will not benefit either Iraq, nor energy security, nor future political conciliation.”
The United States, siding with the central government in Baghdad, has opposed the Kurds selling their oil independently, fearing that would embolden the Kurdistan Region’s bid to declare statehood and break up Iraq.
Since last week, US jets have been involved in air strikes against IS positions near Erbil, and momentum has been building in Europe to get behind the Kurds, with France sending arms and the European Union considering doing the same.
The Turkish official claimed ISIS was selling cut-price oil to the Syrian government, with allegations of widespread oil smuggling from the jihadist-controlled region, notably to Turkey itself.
He compared this to the obstacles faced by the KRG in selling its oil, when it is locked in an escalating war, is hosting at least a million war refugees, and has been cut off from the national budget since February over the oil row.
FT reported that this week, Axeon, a US-based refiner, said it would not proceed with a Kurdish buy because it was “controversial” – the latest in a series of rebuffs for tankers circling the globe with shipments of Kurdish oil.
With few buyers for its oil, one Kurdish official said the KRG was now working with Ankara on increasing storage capacity at the port of Ceyhan and elsewhere in Turkey, where the oil is piped before being loaded on to tankers, and was also looking at storing offshore, the FT reported.
Turkey itself is most keen to buy Kurdish oil, which it needs to fuel its growing economy.
The United Kalavrvta tanker, which last month was prevented from offloading $100 million worth of Kurdish oil after arriving in the United States. Photo: VesselTracker.com