Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s crude tanker reaches the US

crude oil tankerThe tanker will have to offload its cargo onto smaller ships offshore before the oil is delivered to the US mainland. (Image source: Olivier Cabaret/Flickr)A crude oil tanker from Kurdistan Region of Iraq via Turkey has reached and anchored near the Port of Galveston in Texas, USA

An official said that it must undergo a routine safety inspection by the US Coast Guard before it can unload its cargo. The ship carries approximately one million barrels of crude, which would fetch more than US$100mn at international prices.

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker United Kalavrvta sailed from the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June 2014 bound for the US despite Washington’s concerns over independent oil sales from the autonomous region and threats from the Iraqi central government, Reuters reported.

The United Kalavrvta had received the oil at Ceyhan from a new pipeline built at Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The ship is too large to move through the Houston Ship Channel, which begins at Galveston, the US Coast Guard said.

According to unnamed official sources, the tanker will have to offload its cargo onto smaller ships offshore before the oil is delivered to the US mainland. Trading sources in Texas, New York, London and Geneva have been unable to identify the buyer of the United Kalavrvta’s cargo. The oil could go to any one of the many refineries located along the US Gulf Coast, the sources added.

Reports have stated that the US government has expressed fears that independent oil sales from the autonomous region could contribute to the breakup of Iraq as the government in Baghdad struggles to contain the ultra-hardline Islamic state, a group of Sunni Islamist insurgents who have captured majority areas of the country. Therefore, Washington has pressured companies and governments not to buy crude from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), but it has stopped short of banning US firms from buying it outright.

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