Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oil and Hormuz Strait

Do you have any idea what in the terminology of transport geography `CHOKEPOINTS’ are? Straights are called `Chokepoints’ because they limit the capacity of sea passage that cannot be easily bypassed. Two thirds of world`s oil production are transported by sea routes. This has been in continuance since 1878, when the first oil tanker began shipping oil in the Caspian sea. Ever since the world`s maritime tanker fleet has grown substantially to become a specialized segment of the maritime industry. Like seven wonders, seven seas, seven days; the seven `Chokepoints’ through which oil is transported play a very crucial role, maintaining the global oil demand- supply equation and obviously the price! The seven `Chokepoints’ or straights are, Hormuz, Malacca, Bab el-Mandab, Boshphorus, Gibraltar, Panama and Suez. While the last two are manmade, rest all are gifts of nature.
The world`s most important chokepoint is the Strait of Hormuz. This is the most important sea passage from the Persian Gulf. The 180- km strait links the Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. It is 55-95 km wide and separates Iran from the Arabian Peninsula. Iran controls the Strait`s northern coast, while Oman and the United Arab Emirates own the southern coast.
This straight carries practically the entire oil from Bahrain, Iran ,Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. World`s two-fifth of globally traded oil are transported through this route. The global energy security very much depends on the security and free accessibility of this strategic straight.

( to be continued...............)

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