International crude oil and liquefied fuels movements depend on reliable transport through key chokepoints. In 2011, total world crude oil and liquefied fuels consumption amounted to approximately 88 million barrels per day (bbl/d), and more than one-half was moved by tankers on fixed maritime routes. Chokepoints are narrow channels along widely used global sea routes, some so narrow that restrictions are placed on the size of the vessel that can navigate through them. The map shows chokepoints that are critical areas for global energy security because of the high volume of oil that moves through waterways.
The Strait of Hormuz, located between Oman and Iran, is the world’s most important oil chokepoint due to its daily oil flow of about 17 million bbl/d in 2011, roughly 35% of all seaborne traded oil and almost 20% of oil traded worldwide. More than 85% of these crude oil exports went to Asian markets, with Japan, India, South Korea, and China representing the largest destinations. The blockage of the Strait of Hormuz, even temporarily, could lead to substantial increases in total energy costs.