Analysis: Kurdistan’s export quest remains unfinished

After months of sporadic pipeline export sales and legal skirmishes with Baghdad, the KRG is still courting legitimacy on the international market.
In Dohuk province, a pipe-laying machine stands beside sections of 36-inch diameter steel pipe, which await welding. (PATRICK OSGOOD/Iraq Oil Report/Metrography)

Nine months after inaugurating its oil pipeline to Turkey, Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is still striving to build a track record of reliable international oil sales.

The KRG has scored some notable victories recently, including a U.S. court decision Monday that cleared the way for a Kurdish-chartered ship, the United Kalavryta, to offload more than 1 million barrels of Kurdish exports onto American shores. But even that progress has been equivocal: Monday's narrow ruling did little to prevent Iraq's central government from making future legal threats against anyone who touches the KRG's exports, and the ship is still idling in the Gulf of Mexico.

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