Dec 16 2012

Yemen LNG gas pipeline blown up again Sunday

DUBAI, Dec 16 (Reuters) - The gas pipeline feeding Yemen's only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal was blown up again early on Sunday, the company operating the pipeline said.

"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 in a statement.

"The sabotage occurred at 0035 hrs on Dec. 16, 2012 at 173 km north of Balhaf."

The pipeline was last blown up about 295 km north of gas liquefaction plant on Oct. 30. It was repaired in November and loaded a few cargoes of super cooled gas in early December.

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 operator did not say when the pipeline might be reopened.

(Reporting by Daniel Fineren; Editing by Amena Bakr)

((amena.bakr@thomsonreuters.com)(+9714398300)(Reuters Messaging: amena.bakr.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: YEMEN LNG/

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