* 10 managers of Norwegian oil firm evacuated to Dubai
* Over 250 Yemenis keep DNO fields in production amid unrest
* Firm says contracts should withstand a leadership change
By Walter Gibbs
OSLO, March 22 (Reuters) - Norway’s DNO (DNO.OL) has evacuated international staff from Yemen, with no impact on its oil output, and said it believes its contracts would survive if protesters forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office.
DNO has three Yemeni oil fields in operation, producing 6,156 barrels per day for the firm in fourth quarter 2010.
Production in Yemen accounted for 38 percent of the firm’s total output over the same period.
“Our operations have not been affected, but all the expatriates working for DNO left Yemen last week in close cooperation with western embassies,” said DNO spokesman Tom Bratlie.
He said 10 non-Yemeni managers were evacuated to Dubai and were able to supervise DNO’s Yemeni operations from there. More than 250 Yemenis employed by DNO remain on the job in the remote southern oil fields.
“We have increased security and are following this by the hour in Yemen and from Dubai and Oslo,” said Bratlie. “All the violence and civil disturbances have been going on in the cities.”
President Saleh suffered fresh defections on Tuesday when a diplomat and a former minister backed pro-democracy protesters demanding an end to his 32 year-rule. [ID:nLDE72L03D]
Asked whether DNO could retain its Yemeni presence if Saleh were pushed out, Bratlie said the company’s six licences -- five of them operatorships -- were with the Yemeni Ministry of Oil and Minerals.
“There is no personal attachment to this,” he said. “We have our contracts with the legal authorities in Yemen, and if we experience some political change then we have to adapt to that the best way we can.”
Editing by Keiron Henderson