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Yemen aims to raise oil output 25% within months, minister says

Mohammed Ghobari
FILE PHOTO: The sun is seen behind a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County

By Mohammed Ghobari

ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) - Yemen aims to raise its crude oil production by 25% to 75,000 barrels per day in the coming months, the energy minister of the country's internationally-recognised government said.

Saudi-backed Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government controls the eastern and southern areas where Yemen's oil-and-gas fields are located, while the Iranian-aligned Houthi group controls the capital Sanaa and the oil terminal of Ras Issa on the Red Sea.

"The oil ministry has put forward a plan to re-export crude oil from all oil fields in Marib and Shabwa ... and we have succeeded in rehabilitating al-Nashama oil port on the Arabian Sea," Hadi's government energy minister Aws Abdullah al-Awd told Reuters in an interview.

The civil war has choked its energy output, shuttered its Aden refinery and damaged its infrastructure, Awd said, raising questions about Yemen's ability to increase its crude production and rehabilitate the sector anytime soon.

Yemen's oil output has collapsed since 2015 when the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in a war to try to restore Hadi's government to power after it was ousted by the Houthis.

Yemen produced around 127,000 bpd before the conflict and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it has proven oil reserves of around 3 billion barrels. It has two primary crude oil streams, with light and sweet Marib and medium-gravity and more sulphur-rich Masila.

It is also working to build more pipelines and raise the limited storage capacity at Nashima port, which stands at 600,000 barrels compared to 3 million barrels in Houthi- controlled Ras Issa port, Awd said.

The minister also said he hoped that Yemen would resume production and exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Balhaf facility by next year, assuming improved security and a speedy recovery of global energy markets.

The plant, which was operated by France's Total, declared force majeure in 2015 due to worsening security.


(Writing by Dahlia Nehme; Editing by Rania El Gamal and Alexander Smith)