Oil Can Be Iran’s Secret Weapon Against US

Oil costs breached $70 a barrel on Monday — the very best they’ve been since September when alleged Iran-backed drone attacks on Saudi Arabia oil facilities knocked out half of the dominion’s oil provides. The US has warned that Tehran could retaliate with one other assault on Saudi vitality services to avenge the killing of an Iranian common final week.

Oil markets have been jittery since US airstrikes killed Qassem Soleimani, who led the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force, on Friday. Brent crude has climbed greater than 5% for a reason that assassination.

The two pundits, nonetheless, warn that such attacks may result in a full-scale confrontation within the area.  There are fears that Tehran might goal the Strait of Hormuz — the world’s most important chokepoint for global oil supplies.

Iran has threatened prior to now to dam the waterway — situated between Oman and Iran — by way of which greater than a fifth of the world’s oil is transported. Whereas analysts doubt Iran’s skill to shut the strait, they agree that Tehran might goal oil tankers passing by means of the strait because it has performed previously.

In June, the US blamed Iran for finishing up an attack on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran denied any position within the assault. A month later, Iran seized a British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, to retaliate against the UK, capturing an Iranian ship.

Any try by Iran to dam the Strait of Hormuz or disrupt oil transportation by means of the waterway is prone to significantly damage the worldwide oil provide as there are few choices to bypass the crucial chokepoint.

Solely Saudi Arabia and the UAE have pipes that may ship crude oil exterior to the Persian Gulf in accordance with the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, these pipelines have a capability of delivery solely 6.8 million barrels of crude oil per day (b/d). By comparability, day by day, crude oil stream within the Hormuz strait averaged 17.3million b/d in 2018.

Practically 80% of the crude oil and condensate that moved by means of the strait in 2018 went to Asian international locations together with China, India, and Japan, leaving the US, which imported simply 1.4 million b/d of crude oil by way of the waterway, much less susceptible to any Iranian disruption. However, Iran may target US-flagged container ships that serve the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) and often cross into the Persian Gulf.

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