SANAA: OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has donated Yemen three million barrels of oil to help its impoverished neighbour cope with fuel shortages amid political unrest, Yemen’s oil minister said Wednesday. Saudi King Abdullah “has instructed that three million barrels of crude oil be provided as a donation to Yemen,” the minister, Amir Salem al-Aydarus, told state news agency Saba. The move was “to support the national economy, provide the needs of Yemen’s people and alleviate their suffering due to the acute shortage of petroleum products facing the country in light of the extraordinary situation Yemen is experiencing,” he added.
The Saudi oil would be transported Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea city of Yanbu to Yemen’s southern port of Aden, to be refined while a pipeline linked with the eastern city of Marib is repaired. Aydarus appealed to Marib’s tribes to help to repair the pipeline, sabotaged during violence that accompanied protests raging against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is recovering in Saudi Arabia after surgery following a bomb attack. Fuel supplies have grown scarce with the closure of a refinery after tribesmen attacked the pipeline, causing losses of about $300-400 million per month.
“The direct purchase of oil derivatives has stopped after the companies that sell petroleum products on credit have halted their sales due to the inability” of Yemen to pay, said Aydarus. Yemen normally exports 105,000 barrels per day out of about 300,000 produced. As the Arabian Peninsula’s country’s political turmoil deepened, motorists have had to queue their vehicles at petrol stations for hours, while water supply shortages and power blackouts are a daily norm. On May 8, as thousands protested against Saleh’s regime, thousands others protested against fuel shortages in the Red Sea province of Hudaydah. – Yahoonews