The ruler of Fujairah has told a foreign news agency that the strategic oil pipeline bypassing the Strait of Hormuz will be operational by next month.
“The pipeline will be operational in June,” Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi, whose east-coast emirate is one of seven that make up the UAE, was quoted by AFP as saying.
Construction of the 360-kilometre -long pipeline began in 2008.
Sheikh Hamad added that the pipeline will have an initial capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day rising to 1.8 million bpd, which represents the bulk of the UAE’s current production of around 2.5 million bpd.
The Habshan-Fujairah pipeline will carry oil from fields in Abu Dhabi to Fujairah port on the Gulf of Oman.
The pipeline offers the Gulf oil producer an alternative route out of the strategic strait which Iran has threatened to block in case of an Israeli or American attack.
Strait of Hormuz is the key waterway which is used not only by the UAE and Iran, but also by all Gulf oil exporters like Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. Iraq also pumps the bulk of its exports through ports on the Gulf.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, pumps most of its crude from its terminals on the Gulf but it can divert large supplies to terminals on the Red Sea.
However, Sheikh Hamad, played down the possibility of a closure of Hormuz.
“I do not believe there will be a war,” he said, arguing that the tension with neighbouring Iran is just a “summer cloud that will clear.”