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The Strait of Hormuz is located between Persian and Oman gulfs. The Strait of Hormuz is the sea way connecting the open ocean with the Persian Gulf. Its location makes this passage an important regional and global choke point. This analytical treatise attempts to explicitly review the importance of the Strait of Hormuz as a choke point. Besides, the paper reviews its important if it closes. In addition, the treatise analyses its current situation on with various political territories.
Importance of the Strait of Hormuz
Located between Iran and Oman, the Strait of Hormuz is the only open connection between the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. This choke point is significant since the daily flow of oil through it per day is estimated at 17 million barrels. In fact, the oil flow through this choke point is almost “35% of all seaborne traded oil, or almost 20% of oil traded worldwide” (U.S. Energy Information Administration par. 3). At least 14 tankers loaded with crude oil passes through this choke in any given day headed to major oil processing ports across the globe.
Most of the cargo headed for the Persian Gulf region are transported through the Strait of Hormuz since this choke point is “deep 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” (U.S. Energy Information Administration par. 3). Despite the existence of several viable alternatives for moving crude oil to the open seas without passing through the Strait of Hormuz, it is the only choke point that can handle high capacity traffic and one of the shortest routes into the Arabian Sea.
Due to its strategic location and uniqueness, the Strait of Hormuz offers the most cost effective means of moving heavy cargo in the form of crude oil since its navigation system allows two lanes of traffic to flow without having to waste time waiting in the case of a single lane choke point. This greatly reduces the cost of transportation and other logistical operations in countries importing crude oil from this Persian Gulf region (Blair par. 5).
Global significance of the Strait of Hormuz closure
The closure of the Strait of Hormuz would have serious economic consequences for several economies exporting and importing crude oil from the Persian Gulf region. Specifically, countries such as Japan, China, US, and South Korea will have to incur the high cost of transportation and logistics to move crude oil from the Persian Gulf region to the open seas for their vessels. Besides, the economies of countries along the Persian Gulf region such as Iran and Oman will be affected due to reduce business activities. In addition, the current alternatives of transporting crude oil will be strained beyond their current capacity since this choke point serves the global crude oil economy (Blair par. 6).
Current situation with various political territories
There has been tension between territories over the Strait of Hormuz region. In 2008 and 2012, the US has had a series of military standoffs with Iran with the former nation accusing the latter nation of harassment of its vessels. In response, Iran has threatened to seal off this choke point should the US or Israel attack them (Smith par. 4). This tension is threatening the crude oil business along the Strait of Hormuz since the political interests between Iran and the US may interfere with the global price of a barrel of oil.
Blair, David. Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz over EU oil sanctions. 2012. Web.
Smith, Grant. Oil climbs from four-week low as Iran warns of Hormuz supply disruption. 2012. Web.
U.S. Energy Information Administration. The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil transit choke point. 2012. Web.