Data source: US Energy Information Administration analysis based on Vortex tanker tracking and FACTS Global Energy
Note: 1H23=first half of 2023.
The Strait of Hormuz, located between Oman and Iran, connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil chokepoint because large volumes of oil flow through the strait. In 2022, its oil flow averaged 21 million barrels per day (b/d), or equivalent to about 21% of global petroleum liquids consumption. In the first half of 2023, the total flow of oil in the Strait of Hormuz remains relatively flat compared to 2022 because the increase in the flow of oil products partially offset the decrease in crude oil and condensate.
Chokepoints are narrow passages along widely used global sea routes that are critical to global energy security. The inability of oil to transit a major chokepoint, even temporarily, would create significant supply delays and increase shipping costs, driving up global energy prices. Although most chokepoints can be avoided by using other routes, which often add significantly to transit time, some chokepoints have no practical alternatives.
Between 2020 and 2022, the volume of crude oil, condensate, and petroleum products traveling through the Strait of Hormuz increased by 2.4 million b/d as oil demand recovered following the economic downturn from the COVID pandemic. -19. In the first half of 2023, shipments of crude oil and condensates decreased as OPEC+ members implemented crude oil production cuts beginning in November 2022. Flows through the Strait of Hormuz in 2022 and the first half of 2023 will account for more than a quarter of the total global seaborne traded oil. In addition, nearly one-fifth of global liquefied natural gas trade will also pass through the Strait of Hormuz by 2022.
Data source: US Energy Information Administration, Short Term Energy Outlookand US Energy Information Administration analysis based on Vortex tanker tracking and FACTS Global Energy
Note: The world’s oceanic oil trade does not include domestic volumes except for those volumes that pass through the Strait of Hormuz. LNG=liquefied natural gas. 1H23=first half of 2023.
Only Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have operational pipelines that bypass the Strait of Hormuz. Saudi Aramco operates a 5-million-b/d East-West crude oil pipeline and temporarily expanded the pipeline’s capacity to 7 million b/d in 2019 when it converted several natural gas liquids pipelines to accept the crude oil. The UAE is linking its onshore oil fields to the Fujairah export terminal in the Gulf of Oman with a 1.5 million b/d pipeline.
Iran inaugurated the Goreh-Jask pipeline and the Jask export terminal in the Gulf of Oman with an export cargo in July 2021. The capacity of the pipeline is 0.3 million b/d at that time, though if Iran has not used the pipeline since then. We estimate that close to 3.5 million b/d of effective unused capacity from these pipelines could be used to avoid bottlenecks in the event of a supply disruption.
Based on tanker tracking data published by Vortexa, Saudi Arabia moves more crude oil and condensate through the Strait of Hormuz than any other country, much of which is exported to other countries. About 0.5 million b/d moved through the strait in 2022 from Saudi ports in the Persian Gulf to Saudi ports in the Red Sea.
We estimate that 82% of crude oil and condensate passing through the Strait of Hormuz will go to Asian markets in 2022. China, India, Japan, and South Korea are the main destinations for crude oil passing through the Strait of Hormuz to in Asia, accounting for 67% of all crude oil and condensate flows to Hormuz in 2022 and the first half of 2023.
Data source: US Energy Information Administration analysis based on Vortex tanker tracking data
Note: 1H23=first half of 2023.
In 2022, the United States will import about 0.7 million b/d of crude oil and condensate from Persian Gulf countries through the Strait of Hormuz, accounting for about 11% of US crude oil and condensate imports and 3% in US petroleum consumption. U.S. crude oil imports from the Persian Gulf countries have halved since 2018 due to increased domestic production.
Main contributors: Candace Dunn, Justine Barden