A Greek shipping company, Marine Management Services (MMS) is about to be sued by the Oil Ministry of Iraq for its alleged role in the “illegal” exporting of crude oil from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the Financial Times (FT) reported.
Iraq’s plan to proceed with the lawsuit – which it proposes to file in a Greek court next week – is part of its efforts to restrict the Kurds’ abilities to distribute and sell their oil/natural resources, FT wrote.
MMS used five tankers to transport the oil, from Turkey, and Iraq is suing them for “damages of at least $318 million,” FT reported.
MMS’ operations and marine manager, Capt. Kyriakos Margoudakis, said the company was not aware of any such pending lawsuit, FT wrote, and advised that in any case it is between the Iraqi and Kurdish governments.
“Any lawsuit filed against us by the Iraqi government is misdirected and ill advised and will be robustly defended,” he added.
FT also reporsted that “Baghdad had asked a US federal court to use admiralty law to block the KRG from moving the 1m barrels of Kurdish crude into US waters. But a Texas judge said he lacked jurisdiction on the matter.
“The Iraqi oil ministry is set to file an amended petition in the Texas court on Thursday, the person familiar with the proceedings said.
“The ministry said it would ‘not hesitate to prosecute any companies or individuals dealing with illegally exported Iraqi oil, whether by loading, unloading, lightening, transporting or purchasing of such cargos.’
“The legal dispute is just one of the central government’s many tactics used to deter buyers and curb the KRG’s oil sales.Last month it warned potential buyers of “unauthorised” Iraqi crude that they could be unwittingly helping to fund Isis militants, who are active in the black market. Industry observers have said the statement was also an indirect swipe at the Kurds, who have avoided the country’s official mechanism of selling oil.”
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