Suez–Mediterranean Pipeline

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Pipeline linking the Red and Mediterranean seas.

The SuezMediterranean Pipeline (SUMED) was opened in 1977. It consists of two pipelines 210 miles long and 42 inches in diameter. It has a capacity of 2.4 million barrels per day. SUMED allows the Persian Gulf oil-producing states to bypass the Suez Canal, which cannot accommodate tankers larger than 200,000 tons. The pipeline can provide an alternative route to Gulf exporters if the Suez canal is blocked, as happened in 1973. Half of the pipeline is owned by the Egyptian General Petroleum Company. The balance is divided among PETROMIN of Saudi Arabia, the Abu Dhabi Oil Company, and the Qatar General Petroleum Company.

SUMED is designed to allow easy transshipment and dispatch to numerous destinations with minimal disruption. It can transport different grades of crude oil with minimal contamination. The terminals at Ayn Sukhna, on the Red Sea, and at Sidi Krayr, near Alexandria, can accommodate both very small tankers and those over 500,000 tons. Many tankers too large to use the Suez Canal can unload a portion of their oil in Ayn Sukhna, sail through the canal, and reload in Sidi Krayr.

Seventy-three percent of the oil transported by SUMED is destined for Europe. The pipeline has more than forty clients. The main ones are the major oil companies, Arabian American Oil Company, and the National Iranian Oil Company.

see also petroleum, oil, and natural gas; petromin.

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