Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda have reportedly claimed responsibility for blowing up a gas pipeline on Thursday night in Yemen just days after it re-opened following an earlier attack.
The attack on the pipeline in the eastern province of Shabwa is the third against oil and gas facilities in
the impoverished country within a month, and the second against the same pipeline,
Resident said columns of fire and smoke could be seen from
several kilometres away.
A spokesman for Ansar al-Sharia, an armed group affiliated
with Qaeda, told the wire service by telephone that targeting the gas pipeline
was in response to the killing of an al Qaeda leader in the central Maarib
The pipeline transports LNG from Maarib to an export
facility at the southern port of Balhaf for the Total-led Yemen LNG project, the impoverished state's largest foreign investment in Yemen and a key source of foreign currency earnings.
The 38-inch supply pipeline running from upstream block 18 to the Gulf of Aden plant had only resumed on 21 April after being blown up on 30 March in retaliation to the killing of five Islamist militants
in a US drone attack.
Yemen's oil and gas pipelines have been repeatedly sabotaged
since anti-government protests broke out in January 2011. A few days after the first attack on the LNG pipeline, militants set off an explosion igniting the pipeline which transports oil from three fields in the southern province of Shabwa to the Bir Ali oil terminal.
Middle Eastern analyst Torbjorn Soltvedt told Upstream
earlier this month that international players could only expect more attacks on
facilities in Yemen amid the ongoing political instability in the Middle
Yemen is a small crude oil producer with a daily output
of about 260,000 barrels per day of oil when all fields are operating, but disruptions
to Yemeni exports have added to tight global supplies.
Other international companies with operations in Yemen include Austria's OMV, US-based Occidental Petroleum, Canada’s Nexen and Norway’s DNO.