Yemen Liquefied Natural Gas Company (YLNG) expects to lose four LNG cargoes due to sabotage at its pipeline linking production facilities with the Gulf of Aden in the south of Yemen.

An attack on 30 March damaged the firm’s 38-inch gas pipeline from Block 18 in the central Marib province to the LNG export terminal at Belhaf, according to a 31 March company statement.

“Production has stopped, but the loss of output is expected to be limited to four cargoes as the LNG plant was due for shutdown on 15 April for annual maintenance,” says the company.

Sources close to the company say they do not expect the outage to last long.

The attack occurred at about 10pm in the desert 40 kilometres north of the Belhaf liquefaction plant. No injuries or fatalities were reported. This is the second attack on the pipeline since the beginning of civil unrest in Yemen in early 2011.

Production was halted after the pipeline was attack on 15 October, but was brought back online on 26 October. The Marib oil export pipeline, which runs from fields in Block 18 to the port of Ras Issa on the Red Sea has also been subject to numerous attacks over the past year. 

YLNG produces two cargoes a week of LNG for shipment. Production comes from associated gas produced with oil at 14 fields in the Marib area. This is passed through two gas processing centres with a combined capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet a day removing condensates and liquefied petroleum gas.

The associated lean gas is liquefied and exported by YLNG, while the remainder is re-injected into the Marib reservoirs to boost oil production.

In the middle of 2011, YLNG was forced to reverse the process due to the loss of oil production from the Marib fields. Oil from the nearby 10,000 barrel-a-day Marib Refinery was re-injected into the fields to maintain gas production. Production from the fields has been operating normally since the beginning of the year.