Yemen dispatched its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment on Saturday from a $4.5 billion Total-led plant, as the leader of the violence-torn country sought to soothe security concerns.

The first shipment left the export terminal at Belhaf for South Korea aboard a Korean tanker, carrying around 149,000 cubic metres of LNG.

“These strategic projects need security, safety and stability,” President Ali Abdullah Saleh said at the inauguration, adding Yemen would continue fighting the rebel uprising currently raging in the country’s north “to the end”.

The launch came as Saudi Arabia was carrying out air strikes on insurgents in Yemen’s north after rebels made a cross-border raid last week.

For Yemen the LNG plant is its largest industrial project. The exports will help offset the impact of rapidly falling oil output on state revenues and help boost growth.

A second, 160,000 cubic metre shipment was scheduled for November 13, this time on a Yemeni tanker owned by the Yemen Liquefied Natural Gas Company, said Minister for Oil and Mineral Resources Amir Al Aidarous.

(Gulf News)