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The governor of a southern Yemeni province pumping 100,000 bpd—half of Yemen’s total oil production—threatened on Thursday to suspend oil shipments from the region if the internationally recognized Yemeni government doesn’t meet the demands of protesters in Yemen’s south who have been protesting against government policies as the economic and humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate and the local currency to plunge.
Salmeen al-Bahseeni, the governor of the southern Hadramout province, made the threat in a radio-broadcasted speech, after protests in southern Yemen spread. Protesters have been protesting for two weeks against government policies after the Yemeni currency, the rial, has lost more than half of its value against the U.S. dollar since the civil war in Yemen began in 2015.
Al-Bahseeni and other local politicians in Yemen’s south support the protests against the ailing economy and plunging currency.
Southern Yemeni separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) control most of the southern provinces, including the Hadramout province, and have been at odds with the president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia.
Separately, a Saudi Arabia-backed coalition is fighting in the civil war the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who control the capital city Sanaa and frequently claim to have launched attacks on oil facilities of Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia.
Yemen’s oil reserves have been estimated at 3 billion barrels. Even before the start of the civil war, the country wasn’t a major oil producer, especially compared to the other countries in the Middle East.
Yemen’s production peaked at 441,000 bpd in 2001, according to EIA estimates. Since then, the natural decline of maturing oil fields and frequent attacks on oil infrastructure led to Yemeni production dropping to less than 150,000 bpd in 2013. The year before the 2015 civil war started, Yemen’s crude oil production was estimated at around 100,000 bpd in March 2014, EIA data shows.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.