In looking at this map, it sure looks to me like the cheapest and easiest way to tell Iran to “stuff it” would be a 700 mile pipeline from the oil fields of Saudi over to the Red Sea. As it would also cut a long transit off of the path to Europe, it could even eventually pay for itself in reduced shipping costs.
I suspect that there may be some added costs from smaller tanker sizes in the Suez Canal, and it would also require building a port facility that was set back from the shipping lanes (so likely to be some significant dredging / digging work – though the Red Sea is pretty wide, so maybe an offshore oil platform would work).
Still, to simply be able to tell Iran to “stuff it”, might be well worth it…
With a little cooperations, the oil from Kuwait, Iraq, and Oman could also be sent via pipeline to the other coast.
If Oman can be counted as ‘reliable’ one could also make about a 500 mile run to the Arabian Sea.
I don’t know what the cost per mile would be for the Very Large pipes needed to carry the volume involved, but it has got to be cheaper than keeping a carrier task force or two on perpetual alert in Gulf…
Even if you only took 1/2 of the volume out of the Persian Gulf, it would make it all that much less interesting to Iran to block it (as it would mostly just stop THEM from shipping oil.)
How much trouble would there be from ‘terrorists’ blowing up the pipeline? Well, aside from the fact that it would mostly hurt Saudi, and they are pretty darned good at keeping order on things that would hurt them… It’s also pretty clear from the Egyptians pipeline to Israel (that gets regularly blown up) that it is pretty darned quick to get it fixed and doesn’t cost much or disrupt things for long.
It would be one heck of a lot cheaper, shorter, and easier to build than the Trans-Alaska pipeline, that’s for sure.