Oil Transportation and Major Chokepoints

Major Oil Flows and Chokepoints

Source: Adapted from The International Tankers Owners Pollution Federation Limited & Energy Information Administration, World Oil Transit Chokepoints.

The bulk of the oil transported (62%) uses maritime transportation, which follows very specific routes and is constrained by strategic passages commonly referred to as chokepoints. The Persian Gulf is a major source of oil shipped by maritime transportation, with maritime routes reaching Europe through the Suez Canal, China, Japan, and South Korea, through the Strait of Malacca, and North America through the Cape of Good Hope. Russian oil exports are going through the strait of Oresund, mostly towards European markets. Limited oil trade takes place across the Pacific since there are few significant producers. Most Mexican oil exports are bound to the United States, while Indonesia has ceased to be a significant oil exporter.

Major continental movements involved the Russian and former Soviet Republic’s petroleum being shipped to Europe by pipeline and Alaskan and Canadian petroleum being shipped to the United States by pipeline. Other important oil shipments are from Africa to North America and Europe, from the North Sea to Europe, and from South America to North America.