DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Officials in the United Arab Emirates say a key overland pipeline bypassing the Strait of Hormuz has begun operating, giving the OPEC member insurance against Iranian threats to block the strategic waterway.
The director general of Fujairah municipality at the Indian Ocean terminus of the pipeline, Mohammed Saif al-Afkham, says officials inaugurated the project there Sunday. The pipeline begins in the UAE’s west.
The state-run International Petroleum Investment Company behind the project confirmed that the first export shipment was loaded onto a tanker through the pipeline.
The pipeline can handle at least 1.5 million barrels of crude a day.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, the path for a fifth of the world’s oil supply, in retaliation for sanctions.