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Yemen may export its first crude oil shipment since August later this month, according to fixture list data showing Glencore has booked an oil tanker, to dock in Yemen on January 15.
The 2-million-barrel very large crude carrier the Universal Brave will dock at an unnamed Yemeni port and its destination afterwards has not been disclosed.
The war-torn country, which used to get the bulk of its export revenues from oil, has not officially exported any in the past four months or more, although, Argus Media suggests that unofficial small cargoes may have been shipped from its coast.
Yemen has reserves estimated at about 3 billion barrels of crude but has been a relatively small producer, with its production set for a continual decline in the absence of any major new discoveries.
In 2014, according to figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Yemen produced 127,000 bpd. After the war, this fell to 44,000 bpd in 2015. Nearly all oil fields have been shuttered since the start of the war, although according to Yemeni government sources, last August production at the Masila fields was restored.
Though there has been an absence of new discoveries, Yemen’s bigger problem has been the civil war that’s been raging for almost two years. Clashes between Shi’ite and Sunni tribal formations heated up with the entrance on the scene of Iran – backing the Shia Houthi rebels – and Saudi Arabia – backing the elected pro-Saudi government, now in exile – and evolved into an all-out proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
In July this year, Glencore was again the commodity trader that managed to strike an oil export deal with Yemen and loaded 3 million barrels of crude.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.