09 February 2013, News wire – SAN’A, Yemen – Gunmen in Yemen Friday blew up a key oil pipeline that has been repeatedly attacked in the country’s eastern Marib province, a security official and witnesses said.
“Subversive elements in Wadi Obaida (around 12 kilometers from Marib) blew up” the 320-kilometre pipeline that carries oil from the Safer oilfields in Marib to an export terminal on the Red Sea, the official said.
Witnesses said flames erupted from the pipeline that carries around 180,000 barrels a day following the explosion early Friday.
Attacks on oil and gas pipelines by al Qaeda or by tribesmen seeking to win concessions from the central government are common in Yemen, an impoverished country that produces about 300,000 barrels of oil a day, mostly for export.
In December, the army launched an offensive against tribesmen suspected of repeatedly sabotaging the pipeline, sparking clashes which left 17 people dead.
According to official figures, lost production because of pipeline attacks in the east cost the government more than $1 billion in 2012, while oil exports fell by 4.5%.
In July, Petroleum and Minerals Minister Hisham Abdullah said Yemen had lost more than $4 billion in revenues since February 2011 because of such attacks.