Approximately 2.5 million barrels of Kurdish oil is currently stored in the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Kurdish officials rejected on Thursday a report by Reuters that the Kurdistan Region had sold shipments of oil to Israel and the US.

“Those places mentioned in (Reuter’s) report have not been sold even a drop of oil,” said an official source from KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

Reuter wrote that Kurdish oil has been sold via the Turkish Powertrans to Israel’s Oil Refineries Limited’s (ORL) and that some oil shipments had reached refineries in Houston, Texas.

“The United States imported its first crude cargo from the region two weeks ago while at least four have gone to Israel since January, ship tracking and industry sources said, after two were shipped there last summer.” Reuters reported.

The report also mentioned that Kurdish natural gas condensate has been sold to Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Latin America.

“Kurdistan oil has not been sold until now,” KRG spokesperson Safin Dizayee told Rudaw, supporting the denial by the MNR. “But the KRG’s hands are open to sell.”

Dizayee added that approximately 2.5 million barrels of Kurdish oil is currently stored in the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

According to the Reuters report, different buyers have picked up Kurdish oil from Turkey since January this year.

This report comes just days after Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that the sale of Kurdish oil had started at Ceyhan and that Iraq was supervising the process.

Iraqi officials were quick in their response to the report of Kurdistan’s alleged oil sales to Israel, describing it as “damaging to Iraq’s status.”

“Exporting oil to any country without Baghdad’s authority, in particular to Israel is violation of the constitution and degrades’ Iraq’s prestige,” said Ali Zari, an MP from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition.

“Diplomatic and economic ties with Israel cannot be accepted at all,” warned Zari, who is also the deputy head of the Iraqi parliamentary oil and gas committee.

As Kurdish officials rejected Thursday’s report, “Israel’s Energy Ministry declined to comment, saying that it does not discuss the country’s sources of oil.” Reuters wrote.

Dizayee maintained that the KRG has decided unambiguously to export and sell its oil via Turkey, but that no specific date has been chosen and that Erbil would take into account Baghdad’s role in the process.

Dizayee said that oil sales at this stage wouldn’t cover KRG’s expenses, but that it would be a political triumph for Erbil.

“If the oil is sold at the world market price now it would be more a political achievement than economic because the volume sold would not cover all the government’s expenditures,” he said.

Meanwhile, members of the Kurdish parliament expressed different opinion on the controversial subject that is likely to heighten tensions between Baghdad and Erbil.

“The Arab countries themselves have all kinds of relations with Israel,” said Ari Harsin, an MP from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). “Why is it OK for them to do so and is a taboo for us?”

“If the sale of our oil is in the interest of the people of Kurdistan and doesn’t deviate from the principles on which the Kurdistan Region builds its relations, then it is totally normal,” he added.

Bestun Fayaq, an MP from the Change Movement (Gorran) however, disagreed, saying, “at this stage we don’t need to sell oil to Israel otherwise we will open doors of enmity on ourselves from many fronts,”

– See more at: http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/16052014#sthash.2UZflL9q.dpuf