Iraq seeks to bypass Strait of Hormuz

July 20, 2012 at 8:06 AM
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BAGHDAD, July 20 (UPI) -- Iraq said it was calling on the Saudi government to reconsider a decision to block oil exports through a pipeline that would bypass the Strait of Hormuz.

Saudi Arabia is using a pipeline to the Red Sea to ship natural gas from eastern regions of the country. Part of the pipeline runs from the eastern Iraqi border to the Red Sea coast. It was built during the 1980s war with Iran to bypass the Strait of Hormuz and was closed once during the first Gulf War involving Kuwait.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh was quoted by the Platts news service as saying "Riyadh does not have the right to ban the Iraqi oil export, according to international law."

Regional oil-producing countries are looking to circumvent the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for about 20 percent of the world's maritime oil shipments, because of ongoing tensions with Iran.

The United Arab Emirates last weekend opened a 230-mile pipeline to bypass the key shipping lane. The oil pipeline is designed to carry 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from the western deserts of the United Arab Emirates to the port of Fujairah.

The Iraqi oil pipeline to the Red Sea could carry as much as 1.6 million bpd.

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