Source: Energy Information Administration, World Oil Transit
Oil Transited at Major Strategic Locations, 2006
The geostrategy of maritime petroleum circulation is mainly composed
of six major chokepoints, with two of extremely high importance; Hormuz
and Malacca. Hormuz represents the most important strategic passage
in the world, solely because of its access to the oil fields of the
Middle East through the Persian Gulf, while Malacca is an active commercial
point of transit between the Indian and Pacific oceans. From the Persian
Gulf, two major axis of oil circulation service Western Europe and the
United States (westbound) and Pacific Asia (eastbound). As the eastbound
and westbound pressure on oil circulation increases, so does the need
to maintain the integrity of the strategic passages supporting its trade.
This is particularly the case for China, as its oil imports are stretching
from the Strait of Hormuz, Malacca and the South China Sea, most of
which are controlled by the United States.