Local officials confirmed on Saturday that yet another attack in the eastern province of Mareb against the main crude export pipeline forced engineers to call for a complete shut-down of the oil flow and provision for a repair team to be dispatched on-site.
"The pipeline was attacked by tribesmen. The damage is quite big and oil flow as stopped," Reuters quoted an industry source as saying under cover of anonymity.
Preliminary reports established that armed tribesmen targeted Mareb pipeline as to extert pressure onto the government and ensure that their demands would be met promptly. Such techniques have often been used by various tribes across Yemen since 2011, when the central government further gradually lost control of its institutions. Such vacuum power essentially allowed tribal factions to erect mini-states within the state, thus disrupting Yemen’s efforts to reform and re-establish order throughout.
Mareb main pipeline which carries 70,000 to 110,000 bpd of light crude per day is central of Yemen’s oil industry. Attacks such as the one which was carried out on Saturday have gravely disrupted the oil industry, forcing the oil ministry to order unscheduled repairs at a time when such funds should have been directed to shoring up the country’s ailing economy.
Officials in Sana’a have confirmed that the attackers have called for the release of imprisoned relatives.
Despite unprecedented international and regional support, Yemen, the most impoverished nation in the Arabian Peninsula has remained powerless to prevent its tribesmen from targeting strategic national interests, namely the oil industry, the nation’s main source of income.