14 Ağustos 2014 Perşembe

Turkey urges US to lift obstacles on KRG oil sales

The Financial Times     By Daniel Dombey in Ankara and Anjli Raval in London

Turkey has called on the US to lift obstacles to the sale of oil by Iraq’s cash-strapped Kurds to help with their battle against the jihadis of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

The call, by a senior Turkish official, comes while the US carries out air strikes against Isis in support of the Kurdistan Regional Government, even as officials in Washington discourage international purchases of Kurdish oil for fear such a trade could further fragment the Iraqi state.

“This is urgent: Isis is now selling its oil, but the Kurds are not allowed to sell their oil,” the Turkish official told the Financial Times, referring to oilfields captured by the jihadist group in eastern Syria and around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

He claimed Isis was selling cut-price oil to the Syrian government – there are also allegations of widespread oil smuggling from the jihadist-controlled region, notably to Turkey itself – and compared those sales with the legal obstacles faced by KRG exports.

This week, Axeon, a US-based refiner said it would not proceed with a Kurdish buy because it was “controversial” – the latest in a series of rebuffs for tankers circling the globe with shipments of Kurdish oil.

With few buyers for its oil, one Kurdish official said the KRG was now working with Ankara on increasing storage capacity at the port of Ceyhan and elsewhere in Turkey, where the oil is piped before being loaded on to tankers, and was also looking at storing offshore.

8 Ağustos 2014 Cuma

How Guns And Oil Net ISIS $1 Million A Day

Fortune   Vivienne Walt  

Why extremist group ISIS is the world’s most frightening “startup.”

Every startup needs financing and a market to succeed. So, too, for the Islamist extremist group ISIS—or simply the Islamic State, as it calls itself—whose fighters stormed across the Syrian border into Iraq in June and seized the country’s second-biggest city, Mosul, before moving on to the outskirts of Baghdad. Now ISIS, an outgrowth of the U.S. military’s deadly Sunni foes in Iraq a decade ago, is the tycoon of the jihadi world. Having taken over oilfields in war-torn northeastern Syria last year and reportedly earned tens of millions selling antiquities, it landed a giant infusion of cash by seizing about $425 million from a Mosul bank.
But ISIS’s real upside lies in exploiting one precious commodity: oil. The group nabbed three more fields in Iraq, tapping into pipelines and looting oil storage facilities in its new territory. Then it filled trucks and sold crude for the cut-rate price of $26 a barrel to Iraqi traders, who resold it to Kurdish smugglers at a 100% markup. ISIS quickly developed its smugglers’ network—to which it now sells about 100 truckfuls of oil daily for around $9,000 each—netting nearly $1 million a day, according to truckers and officials who detailed the bonanza to the industry newsletter Iraq Oil Report. Not bad for a group with just about 10,000 fighters. Said one Kurdish intelligence officer: “This is a very profitable business.”