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War-Torn Yemen Restarts Oil Exports

Despite a worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen amid a war between the Houthi rebels and a coalition between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the poorest Arab country has found a way to restart oil production and has even exported the first cargo: 500,000 barrels from a field in the southern Shabwa province bound for a Chinese company, The National reports.

This is the first outbound shipment of crude oil from Yemen since 2015 when a civil war broke out and quickly escalated into an international conflict. It was offered in an open tender, in which 35 companies from around the world took part, the Yemeni ministry of oil and minerals said in a statement.

Now there are plans to restart the rest of the oil fields in Shabwa and neighboring provinces, the secretary to the oil and minerals minister told The Emirati daily. The provinces are under the control of the elected government that the Houthis are fighting, as a result of the intervention of the Saudi and Emirati forces.

The Houthis have accused Saudi Arabia of stealing more than half of the country’s oil production in collaboration with French Total—a company that has been present in Yemen since before the war.

“Saudi Arabia has set up an oil base in collaboration with the French Total company in the Southern parts of Kharkhir region near the Saudi border province of Najran and is exploiting oil from the wells in the region," Yemeni economic expert Mohammad Abdolrahman Sharafeddin told Fars News Agency of Iran last March. "Sixty-three percent of Yemen's crude production is being stolen by Saudi Arabia in cooperation with Mansour Hadi, the fugitive Yemeni president, and his mercenaries.”

Meanwhile, the Houthis have offered a two-week ceasefire for the Red Sea to the Arab coalition, which, they said, could be extended and expanded if it is received favorably by the Saudis and the Emiratis.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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