Al-Qaeda blamed for Yemen gas pipeline attack

Yemeni authorities blamed members of the terrorist Al-Qaeda organization for an attack last week on a 320-km natural gas pipeline linking Block 18 in Marib province with liquefaction facilities at Balhaf in Shabwa province.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21 -- Yemeni authorities blamed members of the terrorist Al-Qaeda organization for an attack last week on a 320-km natural gas pipeline linking Block 18 in Marib province with liquefaction facilities at Balhaf in Shabwa province.

“Initial investigations proved that Al-Qaeda was behind the bombing,” a local security official told the New China news agency, explaining that experts were dispatched from Sanaa to Shabwa to search the area.

“This is the first time that terrorist groups bombed a gas pipeline as they used to target only oil pipelines in Marib province,” an interior ministry official told the agency.

Yemen LNG initially said the pipeline was “subjected to an attempt of sabotage in Shabwah, causing minor damages to the pipeline” but it “remains in operation and LNG production continues uninterrupted.”

However, a Shabwa police officer told the Chinese news agency the line was badly damaged, and the explosion had cut off the supply of gas. He cited tribesmen who witnessed the incident and said the militants used lots of bombs in the explosion.

Yemen launched the first phase of the $4.5 billion Yemen LNG project in November 2008. The plant is comprised of two 3.35 tonne/year trains with a total capacity of 6.7 million tpy.

All of the Yemen LNG output is guaranteed delivery under three 20-year take-or-pay LNG sales and purchase agreements with Korea Gas Corp., Total SA, and GDF Suez.

The Yemen LNG project is considered a vital new revenue stream for Yemen, where oil production is declining about 5% a year from its peak in 2002 of around 438,000 b/d.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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