Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Calvalley Petroleum affected by labour unrest at state-owned Yemeni oil firm

By The Canadian Press | February 14, 2012

CALGARY - Calvalley Petroleum Inc. (TSX:CVI.A) says 1,000 workers of Yemen's state-owned PetroMasila have gone on strike, which will lead to the shutdown of some company operations in the area.

Calgary-based Calvalley said Tuesday that its 7,000 barrel per day Block 9 field will be shut down once storage tanks are full.

Block 9 includes the Hiswah, Ras Nowmah and Al Roidhat fields. The company said Al Roidhat and the Ras Nowmah have been curtailed "due to heightened security risks posed by locals in the area" but production has so far been maintained at the Hiswah field.

The work stoppage is affecting all crude oil producers in the Hadramout province, with some groups organizing blockades on major roads, hampering movement of crude, fuel and supplies.

"The company anticipates production from the Hiswah field will be curtailed within the next few days as a result of both the local blockades and the work stoppage at the export facilities," Calvalley said in a statement.

The company said it continues to work with government officials to help resolve local concerns.

"Management is cautiously optimistic that the current political environment in Yemen will improve after the Feb. 21, 2012 election and that operations will return to normal, however, the timing is uncertain at this point."

Calvalley said it intends to restrict spending on the project until safe operations can be restored.

Yemen army shells Al-Qaeda posts, kills 12: local official

Militants in Yemen face opposition from government as well as heavily armed tribes; army attacks militant hideouts in Zinjibar

AFP, Tuesday 14 Feb 2012

Yemen's army shelled Al-Qaeda positions in the southern city of Zinjibar on Tuesday, killing 12 extremists, a local government official told AFP.

"Twelve Al-Qaeda militants were killed when the army fired artillery shells and Katyusha rockets on their positions across several areas in Zinjibar," said the official in the adjacent town of Jaar, where the militants were buried.

A military official confirmed the shelling but said he could not yet provide a toll.

In May, militants from Al-Qaeda branch in Yemen who declare themselves the Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law), took control of Zinjibar, triggering nine months of fighting between militants and government troops.

Tribal and government officials said on 4 February that the government is trying to negotiate the withdrawal of the extremists from the city, which is the capital of Abyan province.

So far, at least three tribal-mediated negotiation attempts to secure a militants withdrawal have failed.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the fighting and more than 90,000 residents displaced.

On 25 January, hundreds of Al-Qaeda gunmen bowed to tribal pressures and withdrew from the town of Rada, 130 kilometres (85 miles) southeast of the capital Sanaa.

Rada was overrun on 16 January, the latest in a series of towns and cities to fall as Al-Qaeda takes advantage of a central government weakened by months of anti-regime protests.

Heavily armed tribes, which play a vital role in Yemeni politics and society, have been joining the army to battle militants linked to Al-Qaeda who have taken over several regions across the country's south and east.

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Vow to Boycott Presidential Elections

By Mohammed Hatem - Feb 14, 2012

Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they’ll boycott presidential elections set for Feb. 21, though they won’t stop people from voting in their stronghold in northern Saada province.

The rebels, who have fought a sporadic war against the government since 2004, announced their intentions in an e-mailed statement today. At the same time, they said they back separatists in the south trying to prevent voting from taking place in the regions where they represent the majority. Attempts by the government to use force to ensure ballots are cast “would represent an unjustified aggression,” the rebels said.

Under the Gulf-brokered agreement on power transfer, the interim leader and vice president Abdurabu Mansur Hadi will run unopposed to replace the outgoing president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh signed the deal in November and passed some power to his vice-president. In return, he received immunity from prosecution, as did members of his inner circle.

Hadi, who has been endorsed by all parties represented in parliament, will run the country during a two-year period leading to parliamentary elections and a new constitution.

A southern Yemeni died today while attempting to plant an explosive device at a voting center in the port city of Aden, Fawaz Sharabi, a resident, said by phone.

Members of the southern separatist movement have painted slogans on walls in Aden against the vote that read “no to the election, yes to secession and liberation,” Sharabi said.

Anti-Saleh protests began with rallies in January 2011 that swelled into mass demonstrations as tribesmen and military members joined the movement. Saleh’s crackdown left almost 900 people dead, according to the Yemen Students’ Union. Saleh has put the death toll on the government side at 1,150.

Polling booth blast kills bomber

February 15, 2012- AFP

A MAN has been killed when a bomb he was planting in a polling booth in Yemen's southern city of Aden exploded.

The blast came amid rising tension ahead of presidential elections next week.

"An unknown man trying to plant an explosive device in a polling booth in the neighbourhood of Crater... was killed when it exploded," a security official said, requesting anonymity.

Security forces were swiftly deployed across Crater, especially near election committees' headquarters, the official said.

"We cannot accuse anyone yet but the extremist factions of the (separatist) Southern Movement led by (Yemen Socialist Party's former leader) Ali Salem al-Baidh are trying to hamper the elections," he said.

Further east, anti-election gunmen from the Southern Movement besieged a polling booth in the town of Mayfaa in the southeastern province of Shabwa, local officials there said.

The gunmen demanded that members of the electoral committee, who are supported by armed tribesmen, leave the polling booth, the officials said, adding that negotiations to resolve the situation were continuing yesterday.

Activists from the Southern Movement, who say the February 21 election fails to meet their aspirations for autonomy or southern independence, have been campaigning for a boycott of the election, while Mr Baidh's followers openly call for actions to prevent the poll from taking place at all.

The elections are taking place under a Gulf-brokered power transfer deal under which President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to hand power to his deputy, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, in return for immunity from prosecution for himself and his aides.

Activists have posted banners across Aden reading: "To all free southerners: The polls must not take place."

Late on Monday, members of the Southern Movement erected the flag of the formerly independent South Yemen and tore down Mr Hadi's pictures in Khor Maksar in Aden.

Tensions have been simmering since last week. On Thursday, security forces shot dead two southern activists during a protest in the southern town of Daleh against the presidential election, witnesses and activists said.

The protesters had marched towards the headquarters of the electoral committee in Daleh in an attempt to drive its members out of the city when security forces opened fire.

Residents in the formerly independent southern region complain of discrimination by the Sanaa government in the distribution of resources since the north-south union in 1990.

The south broke away again in 1994, sparking a brief civil war that ended with the region overrun by northern troops.

Mr Hadi, himself a southerner, is the sole consensus candidate in the election to succeed veteran strongman Saleh who is standing down after more than three decades in power following months of deadly protests.

Saleh has been in New York since late last month to receive medical treatment for wounds suffered in a June bombing at the presidential palace in Sanaa.

US officials have said he will not return to Yemen until after the election but state news agency Saba reported last week that Saleh had told visitors he would "participate" in the poll.