Nine of the 14 tankers nominated by Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) have departed from the Turkish port of Ceyhan, having been left stranded at the anchorage with their orders cancelled, Platts informed citing daily terminal status reports from Monday.
It is expected that five more tankers would follow suit as they are negotiating damages for their delays to loading and sailing.
The cancellation comes in the wake of the payment dispute between Kurdistan Regional Government, which produces part of, and transports all the oil sold at Ceyhan, and Baghdad-based SOMO which is in charge of the sale, Platts said.
The latest turn of events has seen KRG to unilaterally and without warning, cut off flows of crude to SOMO’s tanks at Ceyhan.
SOMO moved to cancel the balance of the June program earlier this week, but shipping data has shown that there are still 14 tankers originally scheduled to load Kirkuk crude anchored outside of the Botas terminal at Ceyhan.
According to a Platts source, SOMO has sent requests for cancellation to all of the companies still at Ceyhan with vessels, but that does not mean that everyone has accepted.
Namely, once a vessel is officially fixed in order for it to be cancelled a considerable cancellation fee needs to be agreed upon.
A senior Iraqi oil ministry official is quoted by Platts as saying that the charterers of the 14 tankers were looking for an agreement on the demurrage and shipping costs of canceling the tankers. The outcome of those talks has not been revealed to this point.
As informed, the suspension of official Iraqi exports out of Ceyhan is expected to be in force through August.