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Emirate Discussion Alternative Routes for Oil Exports

Source: Ahram Online 4/9/2012, Location: Middle East

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Kuwait is mulling "many scenarios" in case the strategic Strait of Hormuz is closed, disrupting its vital oil exports, a top official said. "We are discussing many scenarios but we have not decided which" plan to adopt, the CEO of national oil conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC), Faruq al-Zanki, said without revealing specifics.

"This is something that needs to be coordinated with the (Gulf Cooperation Council) GCC states," Zanki told reporters on the sidelines of a Gulf Petroleum Conference. Iran has frequently threatened to close the strategic strait, through where most Gulf oil exports pass, if it is militarily attacked over its controversial nuclear programme.

Zanki said KPC has been asked to look into this issue. "KPC has been asked to look into what we think [it can do about the possible closure of Hormuz] and this is something we are looking into," Zanki said. He said that such contingency scenarios were discussed by the GCC states in the past and "we need to re-visit it and come up with a specific plan, agreed by all" states.

He declined to say if the GCC states were currently engaged in studies over the possible closure of Hormuz. Kuwait pumps around 3.0 million barrels per day (bpd) and most of it is exported as crude and refined products through the Strait of Hormuz. The United Arab Emirates is currently constructing pipelines that would allow oil and gas exports to bypass the strait, at the mouth of the Gulf.

In January, UAE Energy Minister Mohammad bin Dhaen al-Hameli said a Habshan-Fujairah pipeline, due to be finished by June, will have the capacity to pump 1.5 million bpd from fields in Abu Dhabi on the Gulf to Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman. The oil-rich country is also working on a gas terminal in the northern emirate of Fujairah to eliminate the need for gas tankers to pass through the Hormuz.

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