Outgoing President Hassan Rouhani has said Iran opened its first oil terminal in the Gulf of Oman, a move that will allow it to avoid using the Strait of Hormuz shipping route that has been a focus of regional tension for decades, Al Jazeera reports.
“This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports,” Rouhani said in a televised speech on Thursday.
The new terminal is located near Jask port on the Gulf of Oman, just south of the Strait of Hormuz, allowing ships headed into the Arabian Sea and beyond to avoid the narrow route. Iran’s main oil export terminal is located at the port of Kharg inside the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway less than 40 kilometers (25 miles) across at its narrowest point.
“We had a terminal and if there was a problem, our oil exports would be cut off,” Rouhani acknowledged, adding that “today is a great historic day for the Iranian nation”.
“Today, the first shipment of 100 tonnes of oil is loaded outside the Strait of Hormuz. This shows the failure of the US sanctions,” he said.
Rouhani said Iran aimed to export one million barrels per day (bpd) of oil from the new facility. At the moment, the project allows 350,000 barrels to be exported per day.
Iran has also built a 1,000km (600 miles) pipeline to carry its crude to the new terminal in the southeast from Goreh in Bushehr province.
Rouhani estimated at $2bn the value of the new project which, according to Iranian media, has been underway for about two years. The location of the new terminal will also save tankers headed into the open seas several days’ sailing time.
Iran has often threatened to block the strait if its crude exports were shut down by United States sanctions, re-imposed by Washington three years ago when then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015.
Given the US sanctions, Iran is discreet about its shipments of crude to the few customers who still dare to buy it.