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UAE opens pipeline that bypasses Strait of Hormuz

The United Arab Emirates opened a pipeline that bypassed the Strait of Hormuz, as Iran threatened to block it once again.

Uae pipeline strait of hormuz iran july 15 2012Enlarge
Iranian Navy boats take part in maneuvers during the "Velayat-90" navy exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran on January 3, 2012. The United Arab Emirates opened an oil pipeline on July 15, 2012 to bypass the Strait of Hormuz, in light of Iran threatening to block the passage. (EBRAHIM NOROOZI/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Arab Emirates opened an overland oil pipeline on Sunday which bypasses the Strait of Hormuz, according to the BBC.

The new 230-mile pipeline carries oil from fields in the UAE's desert to Fujairah, an oil storage center on the east coast, said the BBC.

With the ability handle 1.5 million barrels of crude a day, the pipeline gives the UAE direct access to the Indian Ocean.

The first shipment from the Habshan fields in Abu Dhabi of 500,000 barrels of oil was pumped to Fujairah where it was loaded on a tanker bound for Pakistan, said Agence France Presse.

Energy Minister Mohammad bin Dhaen al-Hameli was present at a ceremony for the launch held in Fujairah, said AFP.

The BBC said UAE oil officials and executives from major oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell and Total were also in attendance.

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According to the Associated Press, until now, all UAE exports sailed through the Hormuz.

Iran once again renewed threats to close the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday unless sanctions against it were lifted, according to Reuters.

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A bill being considered by the Iranian parliament, which calls for the closing of the strait, is largely symbolic, and Reuters noted that it remains unclear how Tehran could block the shipping channel despite the American military presence there.

The strait is the route for about 17 million barrels of oil a day, amounting to a fifth of the world's oil supply, according to the AP.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120715/uae-opens-pipeline-bypasses-strait-hormuz