If Iran Shuts Strait of Hormuz, Saudis Have Plan B

It reopens old pipeline that cuts across country
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2012 12:22 PM CDT
If Iran Shuts Strait of Hormuz, Saudis Have Plan B
This image provided by NASA shows the Strait of Hormuz taken from the International Space Station in 2003.   (AP Photo/NASA)

Iran is making noises about shutting the crucial Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for sanctions, and Saudi Arabia is getting ready just in case. If it can't ship its crude through the Gulf, it plans to use an old pipeline that cuts across the country to the Red Sea, reports Reuters. Iraq actually built the pipeline in the 1980s when it was having troubles of its own with Tehran, though it hasn't carried regularly crude since 1990.

The Saudis have gotten it back in working order over the last several months because they "wanted to secure alternative routes to export oil," says an industry insider. Meanwhile, a European Union ban on Iranian oil takes effect Sunday as Tehran and the West continue to negotiate over its nuclear program. (More Saudi Arabia stories.)

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