Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yemen’s Aden refinery stops due lack of crude

Saturday, 19 November 2011

By Reuters

Aden Yemen

Yemen’s Aden oil refinery stopped production on Saturday after crude supplies ran out due to an attack on a supply pipeline, a company official said.

The production stop was likely to bring back fuel shortages that hit the impoverished Arab country earlier this year.

The company official said the refinery had been trying to cope with crude shortages since the oil pipeline from Marib fields east of the capital Sana’a in central Yemen to the Red Sea port of Ras Isa was blown up by assailants about a month ago.

The refinery had cut production from 150,000 barrels per day to around 40,000 to keep the facility open.

“But we had to stop today after supplies ran out,” the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

The pipeline feeds an export terminal at Ras Isa, where some of the crude is also shipped to Aden for refining, company officials said.

Yemen has been paralyzed by 10 months of popular protests demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh steps down after 33 years in office. The protests have weakened state control on the country, resulting in increased attacks on public installations, including energy pipelines.

The refinery official said the company was conducting negotiations with companies outside Yemen to secure alternative supplies.

Angry tribesmen blew up the pipeline in mid-March and prevented repair work, causing severe fuel shortages. The refinery went back to production in July after Saudi Arabia donated three million barrels of oil to Yemen.

The pipeline has since been repaired, but tribesmen have repeatedly blew it up since then. The last time was on October 19.

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