SANAA (Reuters) – Yemeni tribesmen blew up a pipeline that carries crude oil to a Red Sea export facility on Monday but export operations were unaffected, security and oil officials said.
The bombing did not appear to be linked to Islamist militants, according to preliminary investigations into the attack at dawn in the eastern Marib province, one security official said.
An oil official told Reuters that a technical team was assessing the damage to the pipeline, adding “export operations were not affected”. Oil comes to storage tanks at the terminal before export.
Officials said no one was harmed in the bombing which took place in a desert area.
U.S.-ally Yemen is a small producer of oil with output of around 330,000 barrels per day (bpd) and exports of about 200,000 bpd from two terminals.
The Arabian Peninsula country has one large oil refinery at Aden with a throughput capacity of 100,000 bpd.
In 2003, disgruntled tribesmen damaged the same pipeline in a similar bombing.
Tribesmen often kidnap holidaymakers and foreigners working in Yemen to press for better schools, roads and services, or the release of prisoners.
Yemen has been widely seen in the West as a haven for Islamist militants, including al Qaeda supporters. It joined the U.S.-led war on terrorism launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and has been battling Islamic militants for years.
It foiled two suicide attacks on oil and gas installations in 2006, days after al Qaeda urged Muslims to target Western interests. Al Qaeda’s wing in Yemen claimed responsibility for the foiled attacks and vowed more strikes.
In 2002 militants bombed the French oil supertanker Limburg off Yemen’s coast. In 2000, a suicide attack on the U.S. warship Cole killed 17 U.S. sailors.