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Yemen LNG Pipeline Attacked for Eighth Time Amid Rising Prices

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Yemen LNG said a 38-inch gas pipeline supplying its liquefaction plant was sabotaged, curtailing supplies amid rising short-term prices for the fuel.

The attack, the eighth since the first sabotage on the line in October 2011, took place at 12:35 a.m. local time today 173 kilometers north of the liquefaction plants at the Yemeni port of Balhaf, according to a statement posted on the company’s website. Yemen LNG, which counts Total SA as its largest shareholder, operates two plants with a combined annual capacity of 6.7 million tons.

Today’s sabotage is likely to limit production of the gas, which is cooled to a liquid for transport by ship, as winter weather increases demand for heating in Asia and Europe. The plants resumed operation late last month after an attack on Oct. 30. That attack, along with disruptions at plants in Nigeria and Indonesia, helped to boost spot LNG prices to about $15 a million British thermal units from a “high” $12, Michael Smith, lead adviser for trading analytics at BP Plc, said in a Dec. 4 interview.

Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia and Oman, is struggling to recover from protests that weakened the central government’s authority and forced former President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power last year. Yemen LNG’s 320-kilometer (199-mile) pipeline network supplying the plant runs through a region that’s home to al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Three LNG tankers, Marib Spirit, Seri Balqis and Stx Kolt were heading to Balhaf today, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. Marib Spirit, located in the Gulf of Aden, was closest to Yemen LNG’s plants, the data show.

Yemen LNG’s other shareholders include Hunt Oil Co., Yemen Gas Co., SK Innovation Co., Korea Gas Corp., Hyundai Corp. and Yemen’s General Authority for Social Security & Pensions, according to the energy company’s website. Customers with long-term contracts to buy gas from Yemen LNG include GDF Suez, Korea Gas and Total, according to the website.

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Tuttle in Doha at rtuttle@bloomberg.net; Mohammed Hatem in Dubai at mhatem1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bruce Stanley at bstanley5@bloomberg.net

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