U.S. energy secretary sees Middle East oil and gas security in pipelines, not tankers
PUBLISHED THU, DEC 17 20204:35 AM ESTUPDATED THU, DEC 17 20208:22 AM EST
Brouillette: If we can move crude more easily, shipping becomes less of a concern.
On Monday, an oil tanker off Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast near the port city of Jeddah was hit by an explosion from an ‘external source.’
The outgoing U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette visited Abu Dhabi to meet with counterparts from the UAE, Bahrain and Israel to discuss regional energy security.
Dan Brouillette, U.S. deputy secretary of energy
Dan Brouillette, U.S. deputy secretary of energy, listens during the 2019 CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
F. Carter Smith | Bloomberg | Getty Images
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Outgoing U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette is looking for alternative methods to transport Middle East oil and gas to ensure regional energy security.
“Part of the conversation we’re having with the Abraham Accords is to look for alternatives to shipping, so that’s why these pipelines are so important,” Brouillette told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Wednesday.
The energy secretary visited Abu Dhabi this week to meet with ministers from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel. Their discussions follow September’s signing of the Abraham Accords, which normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab states.
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With just over four weeks remaining in the role, Brouillette is making a final lap through the region as the Trump era of strong-arm oil diplomacy comes to an end in the U.S. Brouillette will be replaced by Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan who, unlike her predecessor, is widely seen as a climate hawk.
As Brouillette leaves his post, Gulf leaders are questioning how Joe Biden will engage with the region on issues like Iran. Middle East allies still don’t know how the United States, a primary external foreign policy actor in the region, will guarantee security and stability of supply to key markets in Asia and beyond.
Bypassing the Strait of Hormuz
The Middle East holds over half the world’s proven oil reserves, but exporting it through the narrow Strait of Hormuz can often prove difficult. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have long sought to find alternative routes to bypass the Strait, including through pipelines.
The Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline has a capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day and carries the bulk of its production to the UAE port of Fujairah on the Indian Ocean. Saudi Arabia already exports some of its oil using a 745 mile-long pipeline that runs from its key production facilities in the east to the Red Sea port city of Yanbu in the west. A major expansion of its capacity is already underway.