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The 7 most important oil chokepoints in the world

These are the narrow bodies of water over which almost half of the world’s oil production must travel – and are therefore vulnerable to disruption.

“ABOUT HALF OF the world’s total oil production of nearly 90 million barrels per day is transported over water,” write US Funds analysts.

At some point, almost all of this seaborne oil passes through one of seven chokepoints, or a narrow body of water.

At these chokepoints, oil tankers face various risks ranging from heavy traffic to piracy.  Any disruption could lead to volatility in oil prices.

US Funds recently took a close look at these seven chokepoints.  We highlight some of their findings here.

The 7 most important oil chokepoints in the world
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  • Danish Straits

    The EIA says that as Europe grows more reliant on Russian energy exports, the Danish Straits will gain in importance. Three million barrels per day passed through in 2010. (Image: USFunds)
  • Turkish Straits

    One of the busiest chokepoints in the world, the Bosporous and Dardanelles saw a total of 50,000 ships carrying an average of 3 million barrels a day, pass through it in 2011. (Image: USFunds)
  • Suez Canal/SUMED pipeline

    Though just 1,000-feet-wide at its maximum point, 18,000 ships passed through the Suez in 2011. Combined with the SUMED oil pipeline, the Suez area transports 2.4 million barrels per day. (Image: USFunds)
  • Strait of Hormuz

    The most vital checkpoint in the world: 17 million barrels per day passed through in 2011. (Image: USFunds)
  • Bab el-Mandeb

    The origin for tankers' hazardous journey around the horn of Africa, the strait saw 3.4 million barrels per day in 2011. (Image: USFunds)
  • Strait of Malacca

    Asia's key checkpoint: 15 million barrels per day passed through in 2011. (Image: USFunds)
  • Panama Canal

    Though only 755,000 barrels per day passed through in 2011, the Panama Canal Authority is in the midst of a massive overhaul that, by 2014, will triple the strait's capacity. (Image: USFunds)

- Rob Wile

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Published with permission from:

Business Insider
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