Oil Supply Threats: Because You Don't Have Enough To Worry About

January 7, 2009

How's your Wednesday? Good? Unthreatening? If so, stop reading now, because HybridCars has just published a list of six "chokepoints" for the global oil supply, which, if attacked, could bring the industrialized world screeching to a halt. Downer, I know.

Spread mostly across the Middle East and Asia, the half-dozen locations are important shipping lanes for oil tankers, and thus, the international oil trade. Not surprisingly, they're all straits and canals, which leave the vessels traversing them vulnerable to pirates (yes, they still make pirates) and terrorist groups, as well as run-of-the-mill shipwrecks. Nothing serious has happened in these areas yet, but pirates did seize a supersized Saudi oil tanker near the Suez Canal just a couple of months back.

Given the degree of political unrest we're seeing in Palestine, Pakistan, and swaths of Africa--not to mention the freakish storm systems of recent years--it would seem it's only a matter of time before similar incidents take place in these locations. All of which should serve as some kind of impetus for the US to do as every political candidate in recent memory has suggested: reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Or else.

So...still having a good Wednesday?

--Richard Read



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