Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Yemen: LNG pipeline attacked again

The Balhaf-Marib LNG pipeline was attacked for the third time this year on 21 August, near Ataq. Some sources blame Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) but oil sector sources think the attack is linked to a tribal dispute. This part of the pipeline runs through an area that the military rarely enters.
Militant groups, some linked to AQAP, others not, have operated here and the tribes have previously resisted attempts by the armed forces to main a significant presence. When building the pipeline, Yemen LNG Company had to negotiate passage rights with a variety of tribal groups, with only limited support from the government, whose writ scarcely ran beyond the bigger towns.
The company has denied reports of another attack on the line in early September. The government, faced with continuing if lowlevel protests by workers, has banned strikes in the vital oil and gas sector despite union opposition. Yemen needs to extract every dollar it can get from its main exports to make up for the losses on production during the 2011 political crisis and sabotage of pipelines. There are promising signs that output is returning to normal and prices remain buoyant. Fish exports are also looking up.
For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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