Tankers carry over 40 million barrels of crude oil per day worldwide, or about two thirds of the world's oil trade.[i] Tankers are a flexible, cost-effective means of transporting oil to areas of highest demand. The largest of these vessels are over 1,000 feet long and can carry well over 2 million barrels of oil. Because of their enormous scale and the fact that so many travel through the narrow chokepoint of the Strait each day, these supertankers would certainly make attractive targets in any attempt to materially reduce the flow of oil to the global market.

iStock oil tanker southern california2

Source: http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/object/4489531_oil_tanker_off_southern_california_coast.php?id=4489531

Caption: A very large crude carrier (VLCC) off the coast of California

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[i] Energy Information Administration, World Oil Transit Chokepoints: General Background. Online. Available: http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/World_Oil_Transit_Chokepoints/Background.html. Accessed: December 1, 2007.

This page last modified in August 2008