With Yemen nowhere near a resolution deal with France over the selling price of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) protesters and activists returned to the streets this Sunday to voice their discontent at French-owned TOTAL E&P, the main stakeholders in Yemen gas deal.
Back in 2005 former President Ali Abdullah Saleh entered a sale agreement with GDF Suez and TOTAL, both French companies LNG whereby Yemen would provide both companies with LNG well below market price for a set period of 20 years. Needless to say that this agreement has largely benefited France and prevented Yemen from fully benefiting from its underground resources as the impoverished nation suffered an unrealised income of several hundred millions dollars per year.
Since 2005 it has been estimated that Yemen has lost an astounding $5.6 billion, a reality which has angered political activists and Yemenis alike as such funds they feel, have been in essence squandered away by state dignitaries.
Despite President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s calls on the French to renegotiate the very contentious LNG sale contract as to better reflect world market prices, TOTAL and GDF Suez management have so far dragged their feet, unwilling to give up their financial edge.
Such resistance has generated much negative sentiment against France with Yemen, as many have understand France’s reticence as a clear sign France only seeks to exploit Yemen’s resources.
Activists have urged President Hadi to cut all ties with TOTAL.