AET will not lighter

Malaysian tanker owner AET has extracted itself from the US legal wrangle over Kurdish oil claimed by Iraq on a Greek owned tanker.

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The company, which controls a fleet of lightering tankers in the US Gulf of Mexico, said it will not carry out any lightering operations associated with the 159,000-dwt United Kalavrvta (built 2005).

The Kuala Lumpur owner did not give further details, but records show that it has withdrawn a lawsuit filed in Houston that had asked a judge to bring clarity to the situation.

The Marine Management Services (MMS)-controlled suezmax remains anchored off Galveston amid a fight between Iraq’s Ministry of Oil and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over its $100m cargo of crude.

The cargo is one of several exported by KRG via Turkey on MMS tankers.

Insisting that all oil is controlled by the central government, the Ministry of Oil secured an arrest order from a US federal judge earlier this week seizing the cargo.

The ship’s location in international waters has so-far prevented authorities from serving the order on the United Kalavrvta, but TradeWinds understands that the order still remains in place.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported earlier today that Houston Refining, a subsidiary of chemicals company LyondellBasell, appears to be the ultimate buyer of the oil on the ship.

Talmay Trading, a British Virgin Islands-registered commodities trader, has also been cited in legal documents as controlling the cargo while it is on the ship.