The Riyadh administration urged global oil buyers to take swift action to protect oil supplies passing through the Strait of Hormuz, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday.
Falih shared Saudi Arabia's concerns over the recent developments in the strategic waterway after attacks on oil tankers in the area, and with Iran’s recent seizure of a British-flagged ship.
He urged the international community to do its part in securing the free navigation of sea links transporting energy to the rest of the world as Saudi Arabia is unable to solely protect the strait that bears 30% of oil traffic by sea.
To reduce oil exports via the Strait of Hormuz, the Kingdom' is hoping to increase the capacity of the Petroline, the east-west pipeline that runs from Abqaiq in Eastern Saudi Arabia to the Yanbu Oil Terminal on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Coast that transfers 5 million barrels per day (bpd).
“We are hoping to increase capacity of the pipeline to 7 million bpd,” Falih said.
Concerns over disruptions in the strait have intensified after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized the British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, in the waterway last Friday, July 19, in apparent retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar.
The U.S. is trying to set up a global coalition to secure Gulf waters at a time when it is imposing economic sanctions on Iran to halt its oil exports.
The U.K. has called for a European-led naval mission to protect shipping.
Reporting by Mohammad Farid Mahmoud Abdullah, Cagri Kosak
Writing by Busranur Begcecanli