(Updates with statement from Aden refinery)
DUBAI, July 27 (Reuters) - Yemen has said it sold 3 million barrels of crude to Glencore, according to a news agency affiliated to the exiled Yemeni government, in a move that drew criticism from the main refinery struggling to provide fuel for local power stations.
The Sabanew.net news agency quoted an oil ministry official as saying the deal was the result of a tender, in which 29 international companies were invited to submit bids for the Masila crude grade.
It said three companies had submitted bids, four declined to bid while 22 others did not respond to the invitation.
“The quantity was approved to be sold to Glencore, which had presented the highest bids and was confirmed by the high committee for marketing crude oil, in accordance with the standing rules,” the agency quoted the official as saying.
The report did not say where the oil was being kept or where it was going to be shipped from. It said the revenues would be deposited into the government account as public revenue.
Aden’s refinery criticised the sale, saying President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government had promised to give it a portion of the crude that had been kept at Dabbah port on the Gulf of Aden to resume operations.
“But yesterday, we were surprised by the news published in the official Saba news agency about the sale of the entire shipment to an international company,” a company official said in a statement.
Aden refinery had struggled to provide fuel for power stations in the city since Hadi’s forces drove the Houthis out in July last year.
Yemen was a small oil producer and exporter before civil war divided it and forced foreign oil companies to leave, halting production and exports.
A Saudi-led coalition of Arab states has been fighting to restore the Hadi government and force the rebel Houthis to retreat back to northern Yemen, where they had been based before they seized much of the country starting in 2014.
The fighting allowed Islamist militants to seize tracts of land, including the Hadramout provincial capital of Mukalla and the main al-Shihr oil terminal, 68 km (42 miles) east of Mukalla. Hadi’s supporters, backed by forces from the United Arab Emirates, retook the area in April. (Reporting by Sami Aboudi, editing by William Hardy and David Evans)