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Oil flows - Strait of Hormuz 2014-2018

Around 20.7 million barrels of oil passed through the Strait of Hormuz every day in 2018. The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important gateway that is situated between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, making it an important route for oil and liquefied natural gas exports. Asian markets are among the leading destinations for Hormuz oil flows.

The Strait of Hormuz is pivotal in global diplomacy

The Strait of Hormuz is an area of potential violent conflict; it was an important aspect of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s because the flow of oil through the region places international interests on the gateway. One fifth of global oil supply flows through this passage, and there is no viable alternative for the transport of oil from the region. Despite Saudi Arabia's East-West Pipeline, Saudi Aramco is particularly reliant on the Hormuz channel. Tensions have often run high between the Governments of Iran and the United States, as was the case between July 2018 and 2019.

Hormuz is an international strait within the territorial waters of Iran and Oman. Legally, Iran patrols the flow of seaborne traffic through its waters and international vessels have the right of passage. The extent of these rights is disputed between nations: Iran threatened to close the strait after the U.S. pulled out of an international agreement on Iranian nuclear research in 2018. Tensions continued to rise in 2019 following a string of unclaimed attacks on oil tankers. Moreover, Iran seized a British flagged vessel in retaliation for Britain’s seizure of an Iranian tanker passing through the Strait of Gibraltar in July 2019.

Oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz between 2014 and 2018

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Release date

October 2019



Survey time period

2014 to 2018

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