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Yemen’s Ministry of Oil and Minerals is urging oil companies to resume oil production and exploration according to their agreements with the government, according to a document seen on Monday by Reuters.
The plea comes as fresh airstrikes in Yemen allegedly killed more than 10 civilians, according to Houthi-run media, cited by RT.
The government is also asking oil companies to relocate company headquarters to the port city of Aden.
Yemen’s oil production averaged just 50,000 barrels per day last year, down from the 127,000 barrels per day seen in 2014, prior to the war between the Saudi-backed Yemen forces and the Iran-backed Houthis. The oil industry has found itself a pawn in the war.
Yemen plans to restore its oil production to 110,000 barrels per day this year, Yemen’s oil minister Aws Abdullah Al-Awd said in February, but in order to do that, it needs the oil companies to resume production, and it needs access to pipelines and export terminals to export the oil.
Currently, the Saudi-led forces controls Yemen’s oil and gas fields, while the Iran-led Houthis control not only the capital, Sanaa, but the Ras Issa oil terminal as well.
“We will maintain production from four blocks and are planning to build a pipeline to Arab Sea (Arabian Sea) to resume exports from these blocks,” Al-Awd said in February.
Last August, the pro-government forces that control the oil-rich Shabwa province announced the first export cargo of crude since 2015, of half a million barrels. The oil was offered in an open tender, in which 35 companies from around the world took part. The Houthis reject the Saudi claim over the oil and have accused Saudi forces and French Total of stealing over half of Yemen’s oil.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.