Yemen's Maarib pipeline struck by further blast

Yemen attack: Blast hits Maarib export pipeline

Yemen’s Maarib oil export pipeline has been struck by another explosion that has halted the flow of crude, according to reports.

The defense ministry in Sanaa said that "subversive elements" in Serwah in central Maarib province had blown up the key pipeline, Reuters reported.

Sabotage of oil pipelines and transmission towers in Maarib had increased dramatically in recent days before the blast, the ministry said.

The 438-kilometre pipeline takes crude from the eastern Maarib province’s Maarib fields to the Ras Isa oil terminal on the Red Sea.

It was carrying about 125,000 barrels per day before the explosion, according to the wire service.

The Maarib crude is stored on Safer Exploration & Production's Safer floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel before being shipped to Yemen’s main refinery at Aden.

However, pipeline flows have been halted numerous times in the wake of frequent sabotage attacks, most recently in March.

Last December, Yemen said oil was being pumped through the pipeline at a reduced rate of around 70,000 barrels per day.

A long closure of the line last year forced the Aden refinery to shut, leaving Yemen dependent on fuel donations from Saudi Arabia and imports.

Yemen's pipelines have been repeatedly sabotaged by insurgents and tribesmen, especially since anti-government protests created a power vacuum in 2011, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings for the impoverished country.

The attacks are so frequent a global study released earlier this year by UK-based risk analysts Maplecroft ranked Yemen as having the world's highest risk of terrorism.

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