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An Emirati oil and gas company owned by the ruler of Fujairah has surprised U.S. authorities by claiming an oil cargo the U.S. seized earlier this year, alleging that it carried Iranian crude in violation of sanctions.
Fujairah International Oil & Gas Corp., Bloomberg reports, told a federal court in the District of Columbia that the 2 million barrels of crude oil 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.
The United States early last month said it was going to detain the supertanker Achilleas, which was reportedly en route to the U.S. coast, according to reports at the time.
Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources as saying that the owner of the supertanker, 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.
Iran has also denied ownership of the cargo on the Achilleas. In mid-February, Tehran said the U.S. seizure of the vessel was an act of piracy but noted the cargo was not Iranian state property, according to a Reuters report.
“This shipment does not belong to the Iranian government. It belongs to the private sector,” a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said at the time.
Earlier this year, Iran said that the United States owes it some $70 billion in missed oil revenues because of the unilateral sanctions, and repayment of these lost revenues would be a prerequisite for negotiations with the Biden administration about the U.S.’ return to the Iran nuclear deal.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.