UPDATE 1-Yemen LNG gas pipeline blown up again

Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:25pm EDT

DUBAI Oct 31 (Reuters) - A gas pipeline feeding Yemen's only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal was blown up again on Tuesday night, the operating company said, and repair works began immediately after the attack.

"Yemen LNG confirms the sabotage of the 38-inch gas pipeline that links the block 18 to the Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden," the company, run by France's Total, said on Wednesday.

"The explosion occurred at 2200 on Oct. 30, 2012 at 295 km north of Balhaf Liquefaction Plant."

Yemen's oil and gas pipelines have been sabotaged repeatedly since anti-government protests last year created a power vacuum which armed groups exploited, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings in the impoverished country.

The 320-km (200-mile) pipeline supplying the $4.5-billion plant has been attacked several times by suspected al Qaeda-linked gunmen after military strikes on Islamist militants.

The Balhaf facility, which opened in 2009, has the capacity to supply up to 6.7 million tonnes and delivers LNG, gas-cooled to liquid for export by ship, under long-term contracts to GDF Suez, Total and Korea Gas Corp.

The official Saba news agency said the state-owned Safer oil company immediately sent technical teams to repair the pipeline.

It said that the Maarib deputy governor for administrative affairs visited the site of the blast to oversee repair works and ordered troops to step up security to guard the pipeline.

The operator did not say when the pipeline might be reopened.

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