The state that is known for its booming oil industry has become involved in an overseas business litigation dispute alleging the theft of a precious resource. Since the end of July, an oil tanker has been marooned off the Texas coast, seemingly unable to unload its cargo or move from its spot as the Iraqi and Kurdish governments fight to claim the right to sell the oil.
After a U.S. district judge in Houston said he lacked the jurisdiction to intervene in international business disputes regarding property stolen at sea, the Iraqi Oil Ministry changed its bid, asking for an arrest warrant to prohibit the Kurdistan Regional Government from selling the tanker’s oil in the United States. Iraq’s government cited the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Texas law regarding stolen property. The Iraqi and Kurdish governments have lately been embroiled in a multibillion dollar dispute over oil royalties and war-damage reparations, as well as litigation to prevent the Kurds from exporting oil. Iraq claims that taking over the oil in the stranded ship will prompt the Kurdish government to show up in court.