US court scraps order to seize Kurdish crude from tanker near Texas

The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying about $100 million worth of Kurdish crude, has been anchored in the Gulf of Mexico for weeks. REUTERS Photo

A U.S. court on Aug. 25 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.

At the request of Baghdad, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in July ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to take control of the cargo, part of a broader strategy by Iraq to push back against Kurdish exports.

But a few days later the court said it lacked jurisdiction to carry out the seizure as the tanker was about 60 miles offshore. That prompted the Kurds to file a request to vacate the order.

“Kurdistan’s motion to vacate is granted,” U.S. District Judge Gray Miller said in his ruling.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) 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…

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