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Houthis Advance On Oil-Rich Province In Yemen

The force of the Yemeni Houthis are advancing towards the country's oil-rich Shabwah province, Iran's Fars News reported this weekend, adding that the advance was an attempt "to choke off supplies of weapons and new fighters to the Saudi-led coalition and its mercenaries."

Fighting in Yemen has been ongoing for six years now after the Iran-affiliated Houthis overturned the elected president, which prompted Saudi Arabia—his ally—to wage war on the rebel group. In response, the Houthis have made Saudi Arabia's oil facilities their preferred target of attacks.

Most of the country, which is suffering one of the worst humanitarian crises in history, is currently under the control of the Houthis, and the Saudi-backed forces are losing further ground. Currently, some of the heaviest fighting is ongoing in another oil-rich province, Marib, in northern Yemen. If the Houthis seize Marib, they will be in control of northern Yemen. Some from the elected Yemeni government blame these developments on the U.S. withdrawal from the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis.

Meanwhile, environmental disaster is waiting to happen off the coast of the war-torn country. One tanker converted into a storage and offloading vessel is of particular concern as it contains about a million barrels of crude oil. The vessel has been sitting off the Yemeni coast since the war began in 2015, and maintenance has been so delayed that it is no longer possible, with the danger of an explosion or a leak rising continuously, according to experts.

Another abandoned oil tanker spilled fuel in the Gulf of Aden last week, per an AFP report, as it sunk. The Dia had been idled in 2014, still loaded with diesel at the time. While it is not clear how much diesel exactly the vessel had in it when it sank, the leakage has spread some 20 km along the coast, according to the AFP report.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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