Israel enters into a crisis because of "Kurdistan's oil"
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Baghdad today - Kurdistan
Israel's imports of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil constitute an important part of meeting domestic demand and securing supplies, in light of the growing demand for energy sources.
It is known that the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq exports Kurdistan Blend, known as "KBT", through the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
According to the daily energy markets report of the American company Energy Outlook Advisors, and its follow-up (Baghdad Today), Israel's imports of Kurdistan oil amounted to approximately 167 thousand barrels per day since the beginning of this month (March) until now.
It seems that Israel will face a dilemma resulting from stopping Iraqi Kurdistan's oil exports via Turkey during the past days, after the International Arbitration Court of the International Chamber of Commerce - based in Paris - ruled in favor of Iraq, after a dispute between the two countries that lasted for 9 years.
As a result, Turkey declared to abide by the court's ruling and not allow the export of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil without Baghdad's permission.
In light of the developments taking place, it will be difficult to resume Israel's imports of Kurdistan's oil until Baghdad and Erbil reach an agreement.
At the present time, the Iraqi side and the regional government are in talks to discuss mechanisms for exporting Iraqi Kurdistan's oil, and once an agreement is reached, it will be important to know who will be responsible for marketing Iraqi Kurdistan's oil.
The volume of exports through Turkish Ceyhan
The situation remains unstable, despite the expected resumption of Iraqi oil exports via Ceyhan, which ranges from 400-450 thousand barrels per day, according to reports.
An attempt to agree between Erbil and Baghdad to resume oil exports via Ceyhan failed, according to what was reported by Bloomberg Agency, yesterday, Tuesday, March 28 (2023).
Regarding the fate of Israel's imports of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil, Humayun Falakshahi, chief commodity analyst at Kepler Data Analysis Company, said: "Israel has imported 40% of the oil from the Iraqi Kurdistan region since the beginning of the year until now, up from 23% in 2022."
Falakshahi believes that Israel's task of searching for an alternative to Iraqi Kurdistan crude will not be easy for technical and political reasons.
He expected this trade to stop if exports resumed under the approval of the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO).
He said, "In the event that work resumes without SOMO's approval, we will witness the shutdown of the automatic identification system for many oil shipments, and their reappearance near Ashkelon."
On the other hand, officials in Baghdad opposed the export of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil to Israel.
During 2022, the Iraqi parliament passed a law criminalizing normalization and establishing relations with Israel.
Although Israel imports crude oil from several countries, such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Brazil, and others, it is unlikely that it will replace Iraqi Kurdistan's oil supplies with other qualities immediately.
With regard to Israel's imports of Azerbaijani and Kazakh oil, Falakshahi said that he does not expect a noticeable increase in their exports, attributing this to the limited untapped capabilities in Azerbaijan, and the discrepancy in the quality of Kazakh oil compared to Iraqi Kurdistan oil.
He added that Israel can resort to other countries, such as Brazil and the United States, but it will face several obstacles, the most important of which are prices, freight costs, and the quality of crude.
And he went on to explain: "Whatever the alternative to Israel's imports of Iraqi Kurdistan oil, it will be more expensive because of the high shipping costs and high crude prices compared to the cheap Iraqi Kurdistan oil."
oil in Israel
On the other hand, Israel has consumed nearly 210,000 barrels of oil per day in recent years, according to data from the British oil company BP.
Turkey is the first source of crude oil shipments in Israel, which come through pipelines from Azerbaijan and Iraq, specifically from the Iraqi Kurdistan region.
Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Gabon are also among the top exporters to Israel.
Israel imports from Iraqi Kurdistan oil
Israel's imports of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil have been the subject of widespread controversy over the past years, since Forbes magazine revealed in June (2014) the sale of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil to Israel, with the appearance of a tanker carrying oil from the port of Ceyhan anchored in the city of Ashkelon.
The Financial Times also published a report in August 2015, stating that Israel imported about 77% of its oil supplies from the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
During the period from May to August 11 (2015), Israel's imports of Iraqi Kurdistan oil amounted to about 19 million barrels.
The report indicated that all Iraqi Kurdistan's oil exports through the Turkish port of Ceyhan headed to Israel, and the value of transactions amounted to about one billion dollars.
The export of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil through the port of Ceyhan is important to Israel, especially since the tankers take one day to sail to the port of Ashkelon.
Iraqi Kurdistan oil
The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq sold 12 million and 255 thousand barrels of oil during December (2022), according to data published by the Kurdish "Drew Media" website in January (2023).
Of this amount, the region sold 4 million and 450 thousand barrels to Israel, which is equivalent to 38% of the oil sold during the end of last year (2022).
While Croatia bought 2.23 million barrels, or about 18% of the oil of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, and Italy's purchases amounted to 1.7 million barrels, or about 14%.
Taiwan bought 2 million barrels from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and China's imports of Iraqi Kurdistan oil amounted to 1.25 million barrels, while exports to Romania amounted to 650 thousand barrels.
However, the KRG has repeatedly denied that it deals directly or indirectly with Israel, noting that oil shipments change ownership several times before reaching their final destination.
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