An Overview of Oil Flow through the Strait of Hormuz


Monday, 20 May, 2019

in brief: More than 16 million barrels a day of crude and condensate was shipped through the Strait of Hormuz in the first four months of 2019. The fact that Makes Hormuz the most important oil Artery in the world. 

The Strait of Hormuz is the world's most important strategic chokepoints by volume of oil transit. Hormuz is a vital shipping route that links Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that 18.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of seaborne oil passed through the waterway in 2016. That was about 30 percent of crude and other oil liquids traded by sea in 2016.

Daily transit volumes through world maritime oil chokepoints


All estimates in million barrels per day. Includes crude oil and petroleum liquids. Based on 2016 data. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

About 17.2 million bpd of crude and condensates were estimated to have been shipped through the Strait in 2017 and about 17.4 million bpd in the first half of 2018, according to oil analytics firm Vortexa.

At its narrowest point, the Strait of Hormuz is 21 miles wide, but the width of the shipping lane in either direction is only two miles wide, separated by a two-mile buffer zone. The Strait of Hormuz is deep enough and wide enough to handle the world's largest crude oil tankers, with about two-thirds of oil shipments carried by tankers in excess of 150,000 deadweight tons coming through this Strait.

40% of World's Oil Passes through Hormuz

Bloomberg reported recently that about 40% of the world's traded oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, making it the global market's most important chokepoint.

Oil Flows Hormuz


Hormuz Traffic

More than 16 million barrels a day of crude and condensate was shipped through the Strait of Hormuz in the first four months of 2019.

Most of those countries have no alternative routes for their exports. The U.A.E. can deliver some of its crude to the terminal at Fujairah, on the Gulf of Oman, but that may not make it much safer, as that is where Sunday’s alleged attack happened. Much of its oil is produced from fields beneath the waters of the Persian Gulf and must pass through the strait.

Oil Tankers

Saudi Arabia does have a pipeline to its Yanbu export terminal on the Red Sea, which has a capacity to carry 5 million barrels a day of crude, according to the prospectus published April for the company’s international bond sale. But that line is used to deliver oil to the kingdom’s refineries, as well as for export. It could probably be used to divert around 2.5 million barrels a day of Saudi crude away from the Strait of Hormuz, as long as the export terminal facilities at Yanbu could handle the additional tankers.





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