News / Middle East

    Arab Gulf States Urged to Increase Pipelines After Iran's Oil Threats

    An oil pump works at sunset in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf.
    An oil pump works at sunset in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf.

    As Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz intensify, some energy experts are calling on Arab Gulf states to find alternative ways to export their petroleum. Experts differ, however, on whether proposed pipelines are economically feasible or whether Iran will follow through with its threats.

    Nearly 40 percent of seaborne traded oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean and is bordered by Iran and Oman. Iran is threatening to block the route. Any closure of the strategic waterway would likely send oil prices soaring and have a significant impact on the global economy.

    Alternatives

    Already one Gulf oil producer is opening an alternative route.

    Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates announced that a new pipeline able to pump 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from fields in Abu Dhabi to its Indian Ocean coast should be operating by June. The Emirates currently produces about 2.5 million barrels per day.

    Kuwaiti oil expert Mousa Marafi says other Gulf producers should embark on similar projects.

    "The pipeline that the UAE is doing is something related to the UAE only," he said. "But this is needed for Kuwaiti exports, for Saudi exports and also for Qatari exports."

    Arab Gulf States Urged to Increase Pipelines After Iran's Oil Threats
    Arab Gulf States Urged to Increase Pipelines After Iran's Oil Threats
    Iran is vowing to “definitely” close the Strait if further sanctions on its controversial nuclear program prevent it from selling its crude abroad.

    Sanctions

    Western nations have been imposing tighter sanctions against Iran, hoping the moves will force the country to abandon its nuclear work. The West believes Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at building weapons, but Tehran insists it is solely for peaceful purposes.

    The European Union agreed to an oil embargo against Iran starting from July. It followed similar sanctions agreed to by the United States.

    According to Marafi, the continued threats by Tehran highlight the vulnerability of the Gulf oil producers.

    "It’s a warning that you need this pipeline. And we should really do this very soon. This is important for the world altogether," he said.

    Impact

    Other analysts, however, warn Iran would likely suffer most if the Strait is disrupted.

    Iranians are heavily dependent on the shipping channel for trade. Reeling from the current sanctions, Iran is experiencing rapid inflation and currency devaluation.

    "The reality is that this neighborhood has lived with a variety of unstable and uncertain circumstances over the history of the last 50 years of the oil industry and never for one moment was the Strait of Hormuz closed," said Sean Evers, managing partner at Gulf Intelligence, who believes Iran is likely to renege on its promise to close the Strait.

    Oil analyst Simon Wardell says not enough pipelines could be feasibly built to compensate for the shutdown of the Strait.

    "With something in the region of 16 to 17 million barrels a day going through, that’s an awful lot of pipeline capacity you would have to move. So I think whatever happens you’re always going to have substantial volumes of oil flowing through that particular area," he said.

    Retaliation

    Wardell says the U.S. and other nations would not allow the Strait to be blocked for long. Western allies have announced they would take swift action against any move by Iran to halt oil flow.

    "It is going to be in most counties’ interest - China, America, Europe - everyone’s interest really, to make sure the Strait is open so chances are the Strait will remain open," Wardell said.

    For the time being, some 17 million barrels of oil flow daily through the Strait as U.S. warships patrol the area to make sure of safe passage.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.