The UAE’s Oil Minister Mohammad Al Hamli announced on Thursday the strategic oil pipeline bypassing the Strait of Hormuz is undergoing tests after completion and hoped exports to start within three months.
The pipeline will initially operate at a rate of 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd), offering 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.
The pipeline faced lengthy delays over a quality dispute with the Chinese company that built it.
“The pipeline is complete and now it’s being tested,” Hamli told Reuters at an energy conference in Paris. He added that exports are expected to start by August.
“It’s filled with crude now and exports will start within three months,” he added.
“It’s important to diversify and ease the traffic in the Strait of Hormuz,” said the UAE oil minister.
The pipeline links the Habshan oilfields to the port of Fujairah – an increasingly important oil storage terminal outside the Strait of Hormuz on the Gulf of Oman.
Hamli said the capacity of the line could rise to 1.8 million bpd.
The UAE is now producing about 2.6 million bpd and has a production capacity of around 2.7 million bpd.
The oil flowing through the pipeline from Abu Dhabi will mainly be exported through ships but a portion will be used by a refinery at Fujairah.