Rosneft, the Russian oil giant, will buy the first shipment of oil from the Kurdistan Region in early April, a trading source said on Friday, according Reuters.
The shipment will be transferred by tanker under the name Minerva Sophia, which will sail from the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan to Italy’s Triest, from where the oil can be taken by pipelines to Rosneft’s refineries in Germany.
The deal marks the first direct sale to a major refinery and opens the door for other major refineries to buy Kurdish oil directly. The Russian oil company, signed a deal with the Kurdistan Region to pre-finance the exports,
However, the Kurdistan Region argues that it has to export its oil independently without any interference from Baghdad, as the Iraqi government has not yet paid Erbil’s central government budget share, especially in time like these, when the region is in a serious need of a financial support from the federal government.
During Nuri al-Maliki’s reign back in January 2014, Baghdad cut Kurdistan Region’s share form the federal budget.
In the meantime, the Russia, Rosneft has an increasing need of barrels of light crude in Europe to be exported to its German Ruhr Oel refinery, after the deal with its previous partner expired last year.