Egyptian military deployed to protect SuMed oil pipeline on the Suez Canal

By Phaedra Friend Troy

According to a report from Bloomberg, the Egyptian military has been deployed to protect the SuMed oil pipeline that transports crude along the Suez Canal.

Beginning on January 28, the Egyptian military began protecting the pipeline from possible attack due to rising civil unrest in the North African country

Political tensions, rioting and violence have erupted in the last few days, as Egyptians call for change in government. The current leader of Egypt President Mubarak has been in control for some 30 years.

Additionally, the SuMed operator has more than doubled its guards along the pipeline, increasing the number to 30, reported Bloomberg.

According to the US Department of Energy’s EIA, the SuMed pipeline, or Suez-Mediterranean pipeline, stretches some 200 miles and is used by very large tankers to transport oil because the vessels cannot transit the Suez Canal fully loaded.

The SuMed pipeline is operated by Arab Petroleum Pipeline Co, which is a joint venture between the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC), Saudi Aramco, ADNOC and various Kuwaiti companies.

Identified by the EIA as a “world oil transit chokepoint,” the Suez Canal in Egypt connects the Red Sea, Gulf of Suez and Mediterranean Sea.

Should the pipeline and Suez Canal shut, the tankers would have to transport oil around the southern tip of Africa, which would add 6,000 miles to the trip.

The Egyptian unrest has helped to push the price of oil higher, with a barrel of crude rising above the $90 mark on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the price of Brent crude in London reached above $101 a barrel Tuesday. 

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