Iraqi state oil firm SOMO has blacklisted three tankers alleged to be involved in shipping crude from Kurdistan.
Kurdistan has been exporting crude independently via Turkey’s Ceyhan Terminal since mid-2015 after claiming that Baghdad had failed to respect an oil revenue-sharing deal and transfer enough money to Erbil.
Baghdad, which exports most of its oil from the Gulf, countered that Erbil was not exporting enough crude under the deal, Reuters reported.
Last week, SOMO sent market participants a letter reportedly saying it would no longer allow the VLCC ’Maran Centaurus’, the Suezmax ‘Four Smile’ and the Aframax ‘SN Olivia’ to enter Iraqi ports or export crude.
SOMO did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest letter, Reuters said.
The semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan exports around 500,000 barrels per day of its crude from Ceyhan Terminal. Baghdad’s shipments to Kurdistan of Kirkuk crude, which it restarted earlier last month, have been only half the previously supplied 180,000 barrels per day.
Baghdad said recently it could divert the Kirkuk crude to Iran by truck instead of sending it to Kurdistan via pipeline, if the talks on revenue-sharing broke down.
“The move could be very divisive for the Kurds but also it could set a precedent for other political parties in Iraq to demand their own oil,” a government source in Erbil said, reported Reuters.