Abu Dhabi started exporting its first crude from a pipeline that bypasses the Strait of Hormuz, shipping the fuel to a refinery in Pakistan. The pipeline, stretching from Abu Dhabi to the neighboring sheikhdom of Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman, was loading the first shipment of 500,000 barrels to the Pakistani plant, Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al-Hamli, oil minister for the United Arab Emirates, said yesterday at a ceremony to inaugurate the network. International Petroleum Investment Co. spent $4.2 billion building the 423- kilometer (263-mile) link, Khadem Al-Qubaisi, managing director of the Abu Dhabi-run fund known as IPIC, said at the ceremony in Fujairah.
Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E.’s capital and holder of more than 90 percent of its oil, built the link as an export route for crude that avoids Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Iran has threatened to block the strait, a chokepoint for tankers carrying a fifth of the world’s traded oil, in retaliation for sanctions targeting the country’s nuclear program. The U.A.E., the fifth biggest oil producer in OPEC, pumped 2.61 million barrels a day in June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Fujairah is one of the U.A.E.’s seven sheikhdoms.
An Iranian lawmaker, Mohammad-Hassan Asferi, said yesterday the pipeline’s limited capacity would keep it from obviating the need of regional suppliers to export most of their oil through the strait. He dismissed the project as “propaganda and political maneuvering guided by the Western countries, especially the United States, which aims to reduce the strategic importance of the Strait of Hormuz,” according to state-run Press TV. Asferi serves on the national security and foreign policy committee of Iran’s parliament.