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Strait of Hormuz: World’s Most Important Oil Artery

Strait of Hormuz: World’s Most Important Oil Artery

Introduction:

  • The strait lies between Oman and Iran
  • It links the Gulf north of it with the Gulf of Oman to the south and the Arabian Sea beyond
  • It is 21 miles (33 km) wide at its narrowest point, with the shipping lane just two miles (three km) wide in either direction
  • The UAE and Saudi Arabia have sought to find other routes to bypass the Strait, including building more oil pipelines

Why does it matter?

  • Almost a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the Strait – some 17.2 million barrels per day (bpd) versus consumption of about 100 million bpd in 2017, data from analytics firm Vortexa showed
  • OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq export most of their crude via the Strait
  • Qatar, the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, sends almost all of its LNG through the Strait

Rising Political Tensions

  • The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran aimed at halting its oil exports
  • Iran has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the United States tries to strangle its economy
  • The U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, is tasked with protecting commercial shipping in the area.

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