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UAE Claims Ownership Of Oil Cargo U.S. Just Seized

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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  • Mamdouh Salameh on March 15 2021 said:
    This is another oil piracy on the high seas ending with huge embarrassment for the United States.

    The United States early last month said it was going to detain the supertanker, Achilleas. which was reportedly en route to the US coast with Iranian crude on board.

    It transpired that An Emirati oil and gas Company owned by the ruler of Fujairah, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Shargi, has surprised US authorities by claiming an oil cargo the US seized earlier this year.

    According to Bloomberg, the Fujairah International Oil & Gas Corp. told a federal court in the District of Columbia that the 2 million barrels of crude oil originally came from Iraq and was sold to an undisclosed buyer from China.

    Iran has also denied ownership of the cargo on the Achilleas. At the end of last year the United States detained two tankers heading to Venezuela and confiscated and sold their oil cargo claiming they were Iranian crude but Iran immediately denied that it was the owner of the crude.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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