Gulf | Yemen

Yemen resumes oil flow after repairs — source

Resumption starts after army retook control of pipeline area by force from tribesmen

  • Reuters
  • Published: 14:16 December 31, 2012
  • Gulf News

Sana’a: Yemen resumed pumping crude through its main oil export pipeline on Monday after repairs, a source at state-run Safer oil company said, following repeated bombings by armed men.

The Yemeni army launched an assault in the past few weeks using tanks and rockets on tribesmen blocking repairs to the Maarib oil pipeline, which was last blown up in November.

The 270-mile Maarib pipeline used to carry around 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Maarib light crude to the Ras Eisa export terminal on the Red Sea coast before a spate of attacks in 2011 and 2012.

Local authorities reached a deal earlier this month with tribal leaders under which the military has agreed to cease air strikes and the tribesmen chased those responsible for killing 17 soldiers in an ambush by suspected Al Qaida militants.

The US-allied Yemeni government depends heavily on tribesmen in its fight against Islamist militancy.

Yemen’s oil and gas pipelines have repeatedly been sabotaged by insurgents or disgruntled tribesmen since anti-government protests created a power vacuum in 2011, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings for the impoverished country.

Yemen’s stability is a priority for the United States and its Gulf Arab allies because of its strategic position next to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and shipping lanes, and because it is home to one of the most active wings of Al Qaida.

A long closure of the line last year forced the country’s largest refinery at Aden to shut, leaving the small producer dependent on fuel donations from Saudi Arabia and imports.

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