Total SA (FP), the largest shareholder in the Yemen LNG gas-export venture, said the operation may resume next week as security is bolstered after a third explosion this year in a region that’s home to al Qaeda-linked militants.
“My working hypothesis is that production will restart in about 10 days,” Chief Financial Officer Patrick de la Chevardiere said today in an interview. “We will repair the pipeline and reinforce security.”
Yemen LNG is fixing a pipeline damaged by the May 14 blast supplying a liquefied natural-gas plant at the Indian Ocean port of Balhaf. The 38-inch pipe was also shut after an explosion on April 26 and attacked in March. Total owns 40 percent of Yemen LNG, while Hunt Oil Co., Yemen Gas Co., SK Innovation Co., Korea Gas Corp. (036460) and Hyundai Corp. (011760) also hold stakes in the venture.
“We will develop better surveillance of the pipeline and stronger collaboration with each tribe along the pipeline,” De la Chevardiere said. “This was done but evidently not enough if we have had three explosions.” Total’s share of the venture’s output is 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.
Total has been grappling with production halts in Yemen as well as Nigeria and the North Sea, where it has suffered leaks. The Paris-based company has a contract to buy 2 million metric tons of LNG a year over 20 years from the Yemeni project.
Yemen, bordering Saudi Arabia and Oman at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is struggling to recover from protests that weakened central government authority and forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power. A suicide bomber killed scores of people in Sana’a as servicemen rehearsed for a parade near the presidential palace, a Yemeni police official said today.
The explosion killed more than 90 people and injured about 220, the country’s defense ministry said on its website.
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