Iraq ‘to challenge US ruling on Kurdish oil’

Making waves: The United Kalavryta is still off the US coast with an oil cargo

Iraq is to challenge a ruling by a US court that prevented a cargo worth around $100 million of crude oil originating from the Kurdistan region from being seized by US authorities, according to a report.

Baghdad had earlier this week been given 10 days to re-submit a petition to a US court to have the cargo on board the Greek tanker United Kalavryta seized.

The decision on Monday from a US district court followed a ruling from another US court that had paved the way for US Marshalls to prevent unloading of the vessel, which has remained in the Gulf of Mexico for weeks following loading at the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

The Iraqi Oil Ministry is now intend on challenging the latest ruling, Reuters cited a statement from the ministry as saying on Thursday.

"The ministry of oil is emphasising that it is preparing the amended request and will forward it in the required period," the oil ministry said in a statement,” the statement read, according to the news wire.

"The decision of the court is only to lift the seizure of the shipment while at sea. Therefore they referred to American maritime law. This doesn't exempt (the oil) from any seizure decision when it arrives on American soil."

Fewer than 10 such cargoes of Kurdistan oil have been loaded at Ceyhan, with some successfully discharged at ports in the US and Europe.

The semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq has launched shipments of oil exported via a new pipeline in defiance of Iraq’s claim that independent sales of the crude are illegal.

Baghdad has threatened legal action against buyers of the crude, which is being exported from the DNO-operated Tawke and Genel Energy-operated Taq Taq fields in Kurdistan.

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