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Iraq’s state oil marketing firm SOMO denied a claim by Fujairah International Oil & Gas Corp of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that an oil cargo, which the United States seized alleging that it carried Iranian crude in violation of sanctions, was bought from Iraq.
Fujairah International Oil & Gas Corp has told a federal court in the District of Columbia that the 2 million barrels of crude oil that the U.S. seized earlier this year originally came from Iraq. However, it did not disclose the supplier. The Emirati company, which is owned by the Fujairah emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, then sold the crude to an undisclosed buyer from China, according to Bloomberg.
Greek company Capital Ship Management Corp had notified the U.S. that it might have unknowingly loaded Iranian oil on board, believing the crude had come from Iraq. According to Fujairah International Oil & Gas Corp., however, the cargo was Iraqi, and it still owns a financial interest in it.
Now Iraq’s SOMO, the sole entity that has exclusive authority to export crude oil and all the petroleum products from Iraq, denied in a statement on its website “the existence of any concluded contract with Fujairah International Oil & Gas Corp.”
SOMO “categorically denies that the shipments of crude oil transported on board of the two above-mentioned vessels by Fujairah International Oil & Gas Corp (FIOGC) to be of Iraqi origin. In case of circulation of those shipping documents bearing the logo of SOMO for these shipments. They are to be considered as forged and incorrect documents, and the above mentioned company bears all legal consequences,” the Iraqi oil marketing firm said.
In early February, the U.S. Department of Justice said the United States was seeking to detain the oil aboard the tanker traveling to the U.S., alleging that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has created a scheme to covertly ship Iranian oil to a customer outside Iran.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com