LNG Carrier loads LNG at Balhaf one day after pipeline sabotage

National Yemen

Commercial Carrier Seri loading at Balhaf terminal

BY: National Yemen

Balhaf, 16 October – The LNG Carrier Seri Balhaf was loading an Indian-bound LNG cargo this Sunday morning at the Yemen LNG Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden 24 hours after the sabotage of the gas pipeline.

The expatriate and Yemeni personnel stayed safe and secure on the Block 18 fields where the gas is produced and at the Balhaf terminal where it is liquified. No evacuation was considered.

The gas pipeline was sabotaged with explosives at 00h30 on 15th October at 75 KM to the north of Balhaf. There was no revendication.

The block valves every 30 km of the pipeline were closed shortly after the incident and the damaged section was fully depressurised. The gas fire rapidly ceased. No victim was to deplore as the incident occurred in the desert.

Yemen LNG now mobilizes to site its emergency pipeline repair system. Meanwhile the works of the annual maintenance shutdown at Balhaf, initially scheduled to start on 23 October, have started one week ahead of time. This should mitigate the loss of LNG production arising from the pipeline sabotage.

Yemen LNG Company enjoyed an exceptional reliability so far this year, with only two days of shutdown. In spite of the pipeline sabotage yesterday, the Company still expects to achieve a reliability above average on the whole year 2011.

The explosion on a line transporting fuel from a field to the Balhaf processing plant occurred 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning and caused no victims, Yemen LNG said in a statement received by e- mail today. “The production has stopped but the loss of production is expected to be limited as the LNG plant was due to shut down on Oct. 23 for annual maintenance,” it said.

Attacks against the country’s pipeline network have disrupted exports and caused nationwide shortages since protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh started this year. The Al Shabwan tribe in March blew up part of the pipeline carrying oil from the central province of Marib to Ras Eisa, Yemen’s main outlet for crude exports. The government said it had to raise refined product prices until the line was repaired in July.

Total SA owns about 40 percent of the Yemen LNG venture and is the project leader as well as a buyer of the fuel. The company is Yemen’s biggest foreign investor. Korea Gas Corp., which has agreed to buy 2 million tons a year of LNG from Yemen, owns 6 percent of Yemen LNG. GDF Suez SA also has a long-term supply contract with the plant.