The buyer of Kurdish crude oil sitting off the coast of Texas is a companycalled Talmay Trading of the British Virgin Islands, CNBC has learned.
According to documents seen by CNBC, Talmay, using a London shipbroker, hired AET Offshore Services of Dallas, Texas, on July 17, 2014, to unload roughly 1 million barrels of crude in the United Kalavytra, currently located off the coast of Texas near Galveston.
Efforts to reach the ship broker were unsuccesful.
Talmay may never get custody of the oil because a Texas judge has ordered U.S. marshals to seize the cargo at the request of the Iraqi government.
The crude is controversial because the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq drilled and shipped the oil in defiance of the Iraqi central government, who says the shipment is a violation of the Iraqi constitution.
In a court filing on Monday, Iraq laid claim to the cargo that it says was sold by the regional government of Kurdistan without permission from Baghdad, which has said such deals amount to smuggling.
To carry out the order from Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the Marshals Service may need to rely on companies that provide crude offloading services.
The judge’s order said the vessel would be allowed free movement after the cargo is unloaded.
The case is Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq v. Ministry of Natural Resources of Kurdistan Regional Governate of Iraq et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, No. 3:14-cv-00249.
Talmay appears to have additional offices in Dubai and Moscow, and historic news reports show it has traded in Russian oil from the Urals.