Around 50% of the global oil supply passes through a maritime chokepoint, according to the US Energy Information Agency.
Chokepoints, defined as narrow channels along widely-used global sea routes, range from stable and secure to political and dangerous. In many cases, however, there’s no viable way around them.
For a closer look at them, we’ve visualized tanker traffic density over the past 14 days at each location, using a tool provided by vessel-tracking company FleetMon.
The Panama Canal cuts through Central America to connect the Atlantic and the Pacific with 0.8 million barrels passing through every day.
The Turkish Straits, connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean, are a major route for oil exports from Russia and other Eurasian countries with 2.9 million barrels passing through every day.
The Danish Straits are an important route for Russian exports to Europe. Around 3.3 million barrels pass through every day.
Bab el-Mandeb is an important passage between the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal. The area is exposed to high risks of piracy and conflict, and 3.8 million barrels pass through every day.
The Suez Canal is a major transit point for oil from the Persian Gulf. Terrorism and political closures are always a risk. Along with the SUMED pipeline, it sees 4.6 million barrels pass through every day.
The Strait of Malacca is the shortest sea route between the Middle East and growing Asian markets. Piracy, collisions, and grounding are all risks. Around 15.2 million barrels pass through daily.
The Strait of Hormuz is the main artery for oil out of the Persian Gulf. Iran has threatened more than once to close the 21-mile channel. Approximately 17 million barrels pass through every day.
Bonus: The Cape of Good Hope is a slower alternative for tankers looking to avoid the Gulf of Aden, Bab el-Mandeb Straits, and the Suez Canal. About 4.9 million barrels pass by every day.
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