HOUSTON, July 28 (Reuters) - AET Offshore Services, a company in Texas hired to unload a tanker full of crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, said in a court filing on Monday the Republic of Iraq has laid claim to the cargo.
AET, before starting to unload the ship, asked a federal district court in Texas to determine whether Iraq’s claim was valid.
U.S. Coast Guard officials inspected the tanker, the United Kalavrvta, on Sunday and said it could offload its cargo to smaller ships for delivery to the U.S. mainland.
The ship carries approximately 1 million barrels of crude, which would fetch more than $100 million at international prices.
Sale of Kurdish crude oil to a U.S. refinery would infuriate Baghdad, which sees such deals as smuggling. The U.S. government has expressed fears that independent oil sales from Kurdistan could contribute to the breakup of Iraq. (Reporting By Terry Wade and Anna Driver)