TEHRAN, Iran — Iran Thursday began exporting crude oil for the first time in the Gulf of Oman, bypassing the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
During a ceremony marking the inauguration of the project, President Hassan Rouhani called the plan “strategic.”
Iran’s main oil export terminal is located at the port of Kharg inside the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway less than 40 kilometers (25 miles) across at its narrowest point.
“We had a terminal and if there was a problem, our oil exports would be cut off,” Rouhani acknowledged, adding that “today is a great historic day for the Iranian nation.”
Iran is under heavy US sanctions since then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal in 2018, which have heavily impacted Iranian energy exports.
“The oil industry is very important for us, and it is also important for the enemy,” Rouhani said in televised comments.
Iran has built a 1,000 kilometer (600 mile) pipeline to carry its crude to the new terminal in the southeast from Goreh in Bushehr province.
Iranian state media described the move as an indication that sanctions imposed by the US were being defeated.
The project, which began in 2019 and will cost some $2 billion in total, helps Iran lessen its dependency on its main oil export terminal on the Persian Gulf island of Kharg. The shortcut also reduces transportation and insurance expenses for oil tankers.
The facility currently allows the pumping of some 30,000 barrels of crude into tankers per hour, via a floating anchored offshore jetty, or single point mooring. It is located some seven kilometers (4.7 miles) off the coast.
“82% of this project has been completed and so far more than 1.2 billion dollars have been spent on this,” Oil Minister Jan Zanganeh said.