Iraqi oil shipments divert to avoid Red Sea attacks

Iraqi oil shipments divert to avoid Red Sea attacks

Shafaq News / The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported, on Tuesday, that nearly 47% of global oil shipments, including Iraqi crude, have rerouted to navigate around the Cape of Good Hope instead of passing through the Suez Canal due to ongoing attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.

Despite the extended journey, vessels have opted for this route to avoid Houthi attacks in Yemen, leading to increased shipping costs.

The EIA's statement revealed that around 8.7 million bpd of crude oil and refined products traveled via the southern tip of Africa during the first five months of 2024. This marks a significant increase from the 2023 average of 5.9 million bpd.

The administration noted that shipments of refined products constituted the majority of this rise.

Since November 2023, the Houthis (Ansarallah) have launched numerous missile and drone attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, targeting vessels they claim are linked to Israel or bound for its ports. The Houthis assert these attacks are in support of Palestinians in Gaza amid the ongoing conflict since October 7, 2023.

Both Iraq and Saudi Arabia have redirected additional crude oil supplies to Europe via the Cape of Good Hope, accounting for 15% of the total increase, according to the EIA.

Asian and Middle Eastern refineries have also escalated their exports of refined products to Europe, rerouting shipments to pass south of Africa, representing 29% of the surge.

The EIA pointed out that the United States received crude oil and refined products from the Middle East and Asia while also increasing its product shipments to Asia through the Cape of Good Hope. This trade volume rose by about a third, exceeding 600,000 bpd along this route.

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