Monday, August 27, 2007

New Oil Pipeline To Detour Hormuz

Trans-Arabia Pipeline

DEBKA-Net Weekly reports that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Oman and Yemen have launched a vast Trans-Arabia Oil Pipeline project. The overland pipeline will bypass the Straits of Hormuz, ending Iran’s strategic control of the Persian Gulf waterways.

The first stage of the Trans-Arabia pipeline will link Saudi Aramco oil terminal at Ras Tannura on Persian Gulf, Yemen’s Mukallah oil port on Gulf of Aden, UAE port of Al Fujairah on Arabian Sea, Oman’s port of Muscat, and Saudi Red Sea port of Yanbu. The construction will start in November 2007. Saudi Arabia and other participating members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will provide the $6 billion investment required to complete the first stage.

Saudi Arabia will provide a new 35,000-strong security force to protect the pipeline against terrorist and foreign attacks. The first 5,000 recruits are reportedly in training.

DEBKA-Net Weekly reports that in the second stage, the Trans-Arabia pipeline will carry South Iraqi oil crossing the Iraqi desert directly into Saudi Arabia, bypassing Shatt Al-Arab. The construction of this stage will start in early 2009. Iran, on its part, has started negotiations with the current Iraqi government to build a pipeline that would carry 200,000 barrels a day of Iraqi crude refineries in Iran.

DEBKA-Net Weekly reports that Kuwait and Qatar are the two GCC members that will not participate in the project. Both countries are involved in building a gas pipeline network which has highest priority for them.

The five pipeline branches are planned as follow:

Pipeline #1: Ras Tannuna on Saudi eastern coast to Al Fujairah in UAE, also collecting crude from Abu Dhabi’s Habashan oil fields. The work will start in November. It will be a 48-inch pipeline running for 350 kilometer with a capacity of 1.5 million bpd.
Pipeline #2: Linking Ras Tannuna to Muscat, Oman.
Pipeline #3: Linking Ras Tannuna through Hadhramouth fields and onto Mukalla port in Yemen’s Gulf of Aden.
Pipeline #4: Linking Ras Tannuna-UAE pipeline onto Mukalla port in Yemen.
Pipeline #5: Linking Ras Tannuna to Saudi’s Red Sea port of Yanbu. This line will bypass two older ones in the same area.

For security reasons, large sections of the pipeline will be built underground. The participating countries will also add 4 million bpd to their total crude production.

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