July 30, 2012
(Reuters) - Yemen delivered its first oil shipment from the Maarib pipeline to its Aden refinery after a nine-month halt that left the poorest Arab country dependent on donations of fuel, an official from the refinery told Reuters.
"The first shipment of 85,000 tonnes has been delivered on Saturday night from the Maarib pipeline to the Aden refinery," the official said, declining to be named under briefing rules.
The pipeline was shut after attacks by tribesmen in 2011. Prior to the closure, it carried around 110,000 barrels per day of sweet, light crude to the Ras Isa export terminal on the Red Sea coast, operated by state-owned SAFER.
The closure of the pipeline forced Yemen's 150,000 bpd Aden refinery to shut, leaving the country more dependent on imports and on donations from Saudi Arabia. Repairs to the pipeline were completed and it resumed operating earlier in July.
"Our first priority is to send oil to the refinery...and then the government will start to think about exports," an official at SAFER said. He added that the first two or three shipments from Maarib would be sent to the Aden refinery.
The total volume of the first three shipments to the refinery is expected to be around 1.2 million tonnes of crude, a shipping source in Aden said.
Continued instability in the country, involving Islamic militants and disgruntled tribesmen, leaves oil and gas pipelines vulnerable to further attacks. Insurgents were emboldened by a decline in government control last year during protests that eventually ousted longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and seized several southern cities before being driven out this year.