A gas pipeline feeding Yemen’s only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal was blown up again in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the operating company said.
Yemen’s oil and gas pipelines have been repeatedly sabotaged since anti-government protests created a power vacuum in 2011 that armed groups have exploited to cause fuel shortages and slash export earnings for the impoverished country.
The 320-km pipeline that supplies the $4.5-billion plant has been attacked several times by suspected al Qaeda-linked gunmen after military strikes on Islamist militants.
“Yemen LNG confirms the sabotage of the 38-inch gas pipeline that links the block 18 to the Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden,” the company said in a statement, adding that nobody was injured in the blast.
The latest explosion occurred at 0420 local time (0120 GMT), about 35 km north of the Balhaf Liquefaction Plant on the Gulf of Aden run by France’s Total.
The Balhaf facility, which opened in 2009, has the capacity to supply up to 6.7 million tonnes and delivers LNG, gas cooled to liquid for export by ship, under long term contracts to GDF Suez, Total and Korea Gas Corp.
The pipeline that carries gas from fields in the interior to the coastal export facility was attacked in late April, just days after reopening following a previous attack.
It resumed production following that attack in late May and Yemeni soldiers were deployed to try to protect the pipeline in June. But it was still blown up again in late August, the last such attack until the latest attack on Tuesday.