(Adds Iraq oil minister paras 4-7)
By Orhan Coskun and David Sheppard
ANKARA/LONDON, June 9 A second shipment of Iraqi
Kurdish crude has sailed from the Turkish port of Ceyhan,
industry and government sources said, increasing the stakes in a
battle with Baghdad over control of oil sales from the
The United Emblem suezmax tanker, carrying 1 million barrels
of crude, sailed from the harbour on Turkey's Mediterranean
coast on Monday, Reuters AIS Live ship tracking showed.
The shipment is the second to leave Ceyhan in three weeks
after arriving by pipeline. At least 2 million barrels of
Kurdish crude are now at sea, despite protests from Baghdad that
only the central government has the right to sell Iraqi oil.
Iraq's oil minister condemned the exports.
"What happened in my view was the biggest mistake that has
been made by the Kurds and the Turks...and the Iraqi government
will take severe measures," Abdul Kareem Luaibi told a news
briefing in Vienna on Monday.
He repeated that Baghdad would sue the Turkish government
and Turkish state owned pipeline operator Botas for facilitating
the sale of the crude. Baghdad was in the process informing the
United Nations about Ankara's role in the shipment, he added.
"We have no choice but to go to arbitration and they
(Turkish government) have been informed," Luaibi said.
The Kurdish Regional Government has said the oil shipments
are designed to show Baghdad it will exercise control over its
own oil sales, but so far it has failed to find a buyer for its
first tanker shipment, which left Ceyhan over two weeks ago.
Neither Kurdistan's Ministry of Natural Resources nor a
spokesman for the regional government were immediately available
THE HUNT FOR BUYERS
Last week the first tanker, the United Leadership, sailed
away from Morocco after the North African country declined to
let the vessel unload its 1-million-barrel crude cargo at the
Italy has also warned oil traders they face potential legal
action if they buy the Kurdish crude, after discussions with the
Iraq central government at its embassy in
The regional government originally said the oil would be
sold to German or Italian refiners, but so far the United
Leadership has not sailed towards those destinations. On Monday,
it remained about 30 miles (48 km) off the Moroccan coast.
The United Leadership and the United Emblem are listed in
tanker tracking as "For Orders", an industry term indicating
that a final buyer of the crude has not yet been arranged.
Until last month, Kurdish oil exports were constrained to a
small volume sent by truck to two Turkish ports on the
Mediterranean. Iraq's state marketer made threats of legal
action but did not follow through.
But the start of deliveries on a new Kurdish pipeline that
currently pumps around 100,000 barrels per day to Ceyhan means
significantly higher revenues for the region.
Iraq and Kurdistan have been trying to reach a political
agreement over oil sales, but five months after the pipeline
started up there had still been no final decision, prompting the
regional government to go it alone.
Kurdish crude stored at Ceyhan had reached 2.8 million
barrels at the end of last week, Turkish Energy Minister Taner
Yildiz said on Friday.
(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Istabul, Isabel Coles
in Erbil and Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad, Rania el Gamal and Peg
Mackey in Vienna; Editing by Dale Hudson)