January 7, 2012
Iran announced on Friday new military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, but the West has readied plans to use strategic oil stocks to replace almost all Gulf oil lost if Iran blocks the waterway, industry sources and diplomats told Reuters.
They said senior executives of the International Energy Agency (IEA) discussed on Thursday an existing plan to release up to 14 million barrels per day (bpd) of government-owned oil stored in the United States, Europe, Japan and other importers.
This rate of release could be kept up for a month, offsetting most of the 16 million barrels a day of crude passing through the world’s most important shipping lane that could be halted by an Iranian blockade.
Iranian officials have threatened in recent weeks to block the strait if new sanctions imposed by the United States and planned by the European Union, with the aim of discouraging Iran’s nuclear program, harm Tehran’s oil exports.