LONDON - Iraqi Kurdistan looked set to unload its first cargo of disputed crude oil in Israel from its new pipeline after weeks of seeking an outlet as Iraq's central government has threatened legal action against any buyer.
The SCF Altai tanker was anchored near Israel's Ashkelon port early on Friday morning, ship tracking and industry sources said. The tanker is expected to dock early on Saturday, local sources said.
Securing the first sale of oil from its independent pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan is crucial for the Kurdish Regional Government as it seeks greater financial independence from war-torn Iraq.
But the new export route to Turkey, built to bypass Baghdad's federal pipeline system, has created a bitter dispute over oil sale rights between the central government and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).