The United Arab Emirates has officially opened a pipeline that gives the oil-exporting Persian Gulf nation some protection from the Gulf's political woes. The 236-mile Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline cuts through rugged terrain to reach Fujairah on the UAE's Indian Ocean coast, reports the BBC. The pipeline allows the UAE to bypass the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, which Iran has repeatedly threatened to close in retaliation for sanctions.
The pipeline is designed to carry 1.5 million barrels of crude oil a day but that amount could be expanded if Iran makes good on its threat to close the strategic waterway. The US ambassador to the UAE was present at the pipeline's inauguration and called it "a historic step in establishing multiple routes for the vital flow of oil from the Arabian Peninsula," reports the AP. Saudi Arabia is also working on alternative ways to get its oil out of the country.