Armed tribesmen have once again attacked a pipeline running from the central Marib export province the Red Sea port in Yemen, further denting the country’s hopes of restarting its faltering oil sector.

Following the latest attack, an agreement has been reached between state-owned oil company, Safer and the tribes in the area to replace the damaged section of the 120,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) Marib pipeline, a source in Yemen tells MEED.

Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Yemen’s acting president, says the pipeline will be repaired in the coming days, according to state-news agency, Saba.  The attack came a few days after a Yemeni official said the government was considering a military operation to seize control of the area if tribesmen prevented the repairs.

The pipeline runs from fields in Block 18 in the Marib province to the port of Ras Issa on the Red Sea, carrying sweet light crude oil, which is exported by Safer. Revenues from the exports are then used to buy heavier crudes, particularly from Iran to be used as feedstock for the Aden refinery (MEED 24:6:11).

However, the pipeline has been empty since an attack by tribesmen in mid-March. The 130,000 b/d Aden refinery was restarted in late June following the arrival of tankers loaded with Saudi-donated crude.

Yemen produced approximately 280,000 b/d of oil in 2010, according to UK oil major BP. However, only half of this is exported.