Source: Energy Information Administration, World Oil Transit
Chokepoints & BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
(Detailed PDF Map)
Shipping Lanes, Strategic Passages and Oil Reserves in the Middle
In addition to geopolitics, the geography of the Middle East
creates challenges for petroleum distribution. The first is the
concentration of reserves around the Persian Gulf (Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait, Iraq, Iran and United Arab Emirates) leaving the Strait
Hormuz as one of the only viable outlet to export oil using large
oil tankers. The second is the constrained access to the main
European markets through the Suez Canal, implying that a fully laden
VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) cannot transit through the canal and
must round Africa.