Maritime security is of crucial importance to energy security as more than half of the world’s oil is transported by sea. To reach U.S. consumers and industries, after oil leaves ports and harbors around the world it must pass through narrow sea lanes that are often highly vulnerable to disruption, or global chokepoints.
The world’s largest chokepoints have historically been the targets of attacks from pirates and threats from hostile nations to lay mines in the international waters, as Iran has done with the Straight of Hormuz.
The U.S. pays close attention to these chokepoints due to the potentially catastrophic nature of a choking off of the global oil supply, which could drive up costs and threaten critical energy supply. The below map shows that the Straight of Hormuz is the most important of these chokepoints, where 17 million barrels of oil pass through daily.