08 September 2014, News Wires – Tribesmen attacked Yemen’s main oil export pipeline on Monday, halting the flow of crude, reports said.
Saboteurs blew up the Marib pipeline near the Wadi Abida production field in central Marib province, officials told Reuters.
The 438-kilometre pipeline operated by the state-run Safer oil company takes crude from the eastern Marib province’s Marib fields to the Ras Isa oil terminal on the Red Sea.
Heavily-armed tribes carry out such assaults to extract concessions from the government – to provide jobs, settle land disputes or free relatives from prison.
A Yemeni oil official speaking off the record said the line could be repaired in one or two days if tribesmen allowed it.
Yemen’s oil and gas pipelines have been repeatedly sabotaged by tribesmen feuding with the state, especially since mass protests against the government created a power vacuum in 2011, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings for the impoverished country.
State crude revenues slumped by about 30% in the first half of the year to $930 million compared to $1.32 billion in the same period last year, the Yemen Post reported, citing Central Bank of Yemen data from the official Sana news agency.
The stability of Yemen is also a priority for the US 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 al Qaeda’s most active wings.