There are two choke points in Saudia Arabia for Saudi Oil -- Abqaiq and Ras Tanura. Abqaiq is located just north of the Ghawar oil field and processes 46% of Saudi oil. From Abqaiq, the oil is shipped to Ras Tanura on the Persian Gulf where it is loaded into oil tankers for shipment around the world.
Sea Island Platform #4, the largest offshore loading platform in the world, is located at Ras Tanura. If either or both of these facilities were damaged for any length of time, it would severely damage the American economy. $4/gallon gasoline that we had in the summers of 2008 and 2011 would look like the good old days.
5 million barrels of oil per day come down that 300 foot wide peninsula, 50% of Saudi oil production. For the U.S. economy to depend on 300 feet of sand to protect us is a totally misguided policy especially in light of the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Abqaiq was actually attacked by Al Queda in February 2006 and again by unknown entities with rockets in September 2019. We were lucky that the attack occurred at Abqaiq and not the oil pipelines at Ras Tanura themselves.
According to the New York Times, security at Abqaiq consists of "...three electrified security fences...patrolled around the clock by helicopters and F-15 warplanes, and thousands of security personnel and guards from Aramco..."
In addition, the U.S. maintains and operates 24 air bases around the Persian Gulf (not counting those in Iraq and Afghanistan). To see this list, click on airbase list below.
This level of security is impressive, but do we here in the US want to pay for, and our economic future to depend, on this level of security into the future as far as we can see? The E100 Ethanol Group thinks we do not, but if we keep depending on gasoline to power our vehicles, that's exactly what we will have to do.
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Last Updated October 5, 2020