Thursday, June 6, 2019

Usrael Kurd Oil Deals and Tanker Attacks

Syrian Kurd Oil Deals and Tanker Attacks

Multiple media outlets were claiming that the US led coalition launched an airstrike at oil tankers while the Kurdish meida reported they participated in targeting the tankers with machine gun fire and anti tank missiles- mentioned below. The online dis-info crowd claimed this was just Turkish propaganda- It seemed to me there was a little more to the reports then those advancing limited hangout claims. (Canthama- Or as I call him Disinfothama.) is reporting the two disparate sources as reporting somewhat the same news.
On Friday, Qatari and Turkish media were reporting that US-led coalition airstrikes took out three oil tankers in targeted airstrikes in eastern Syria, while Kurdish media invariably reported that the tankers were targeted with machine-gun fire and an anti-tank missile that made a direct hit on one ferry belonging to the regime. The oil was being transported from Syrian Kurdish territory (which the Turkish media refers to as territory “besieged by terrorist YPG/PKK”) to regime territory. The question to examine here isn’t whether the tankers came under fire by machine guns or missiles, but why the US-led coalition is now gunning for YPG (Syrian Kurd) targets.
I wouldn't call them YPG targets. I'd actually characterize them as Syrian state targets

The oil came from the Tanak fields near the Iraqi border. Indeed, the majority of Syria’s oil comes from territory controlled by the Syrian  (Usrael) Kurds in Deir el-Zour, nominally under the YPG. (PKK) All Turkish media describes the YPG as a “terrorist group”. They also play up these attacks exponentially, describing them as major airstrikes that create an image in the mind of huge tankers being blown up. Our intelligence on the ground suggests that one regime tanker was attacked with a missile over the weekend, while a convoy of YPG tankers were targeted with machine-gun fire in a less decisive attack.
As I'd suspected the US did hit the oil shipments. 

US media do not report on these incidents, largely because the coalition does not issue any statements confirming them, but also because there seems to be some sort of intellectual embargo on anything that happens in Syria that doesn’t have to do with toxic gas, or that doesn’t have to do with carnage wrought by the regime itself.

So, why would the US attack tankers on Syrian Kurdish-controlled territory? After all, this is the territory through which the US operates in Syria, and the Syrian Kurds (in the form of the YPG) are allies of the US in the fight against ISIS?
  That alliance has been in question since Trump called for a withdrawal of forces from Syria and began distancing the US from outright support for the YPG. When you nominally lose one ally, you look for another for support, and in this case, it’s the Russians, which also means selling oil to Assad, but that is not necessarily anything new. Nor are the Russians an ideal ally for the Kurds here because they will double deal with the regime and with Turkey.
The wider game being played out on this venue is a proxy war that involves a multitude of regional players centered around the Iran-Russia “axis” and the US-Israeli (plus Saudi/UAE friends) “alliance”. This means that readers must navigate reports based on their origins. Turkish and Qatari media have their own agendas here. Turkey’s is to report anything that rallies opposition to the Kurds and any chance to portray them as “terrorists” in Syria, particularly as they have been a long-time ally of the US against Assad.
In the meantime, Iran is believed to have resumed the transport of gas to the Assad regime in Syria. That is a clearer violation of the embargo on the Assad regime, while buying oil from the Syrian Kurds on the territory of Syria is a bit more difficult to count as a violation of the embargo; hence the pot shots at the tankers.
To my thinking if Damascus has already paid the Usrael Kurds for the oil- The strikes are a win/ win for the coalition against the central state government- The Usrael Kurds keep the cash. And don't care if Damascus get's the oil.

The YPG control of Syrian oil is a nightmare for the Turks because not only is it bolstering the Kurds through sales of oil to Assad, but it’s also filling their coffers through the sale of oil to the Iraqi Kurds, who refine it and then transport through the Ceyhan pipeline, which is in Turkey. So at the end of the day, the irony is that the Turks are bankrolling their enemy to some extent. This is how Syrian oil can get out of Syria and onto world markets, albeit in very small amounts. And it helps that Russia’s Rosneft largely controls Iraqi Kurdistan’s export pipelines at this point.
ISIS and the Kurds shipped oil out of Syria the exact same way.  Not a coincidence.
As for Rosneft and Iraqi Kurdistan's export pipelines- They control some, but, not all of the pipelines. Making deals to build new infrastructure etc., Not sure which pipelines, though? 
Or if the oil taken from Syria is going through Russian built operated pipelines? Maybe? Maybe , not?
I did cover this news here at the blog, but, can't find the older post.

So here's the coverage
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Russian state-owned petroleum giant Rosneft announced on Friday that it had signed an agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government to develop its oil and gas infrastructure, including the design of a new gas pipeline.
The deal, made at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, could boost oil production in the Kurdistan Region up to 10,000 additional barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2018.
"This is a key project to the monetization of the exploration and production opportunities Rosneft has been evaluating since signing a Gas Cooperation Agreement with the [KRG]," said a statement released by the oil company, referring to the pipeline plans.
Back to Oil
But what investors and other observers should be aware of is the timing of the most recent targeting of oil tankers by the US-led coalition: In the last days of May, amid an escalating gasoline crisis, the YPG cut a deal with the regime to sell crude from Tanak for $41/barrel. Taking potshots at those first oil tankers carrying this new-deal oil was Washington’s response. Nor has it, until a couple of months ago, shown any problem with YPG selling crude to the regime. And there is a difference in the way that the US-led coalition chooses to target regime-owned tankers versus YPG tankers.

But it’s also important to consider the oil prospects in Syria, because at the end of the day, this entire conflict was about an oil pipeline, and now it’s about controlling Syria’s oil, its prospects in the massive-potential Levant Basin (where Israel made it’s huge gas find) and transit. At its peak, Syria can produce around 350,000 bpd onshore, and it’s only producing a fraction of that right now, but most of it is in YPG-controlled territory, including the country’s biggest field. The US distancing itself from the Kurds here is a boon for the Russians, who have largely secured their foothold in Syria’s oil future thanks to Trump’s move. The US can take pot shots at tankers here, but at the end of the day, this is a Russian game now and it won’t be more than an irritant.
There are several posts here regarding the Levant Basin oil prospects-

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