Yemen LNG firm shuts down as conflict worsens

 

Yemenis stand amid the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in a village near Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, April 4, 2015. Since their advance began last year, the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis have overrun Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and several provinces, forcing the country’s beleaguered President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country. A Saudi-led coalition continued to carry out intensive airstrikes overnight and early Saturday morning targeting Houthi positions. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Copyright , The Associated Press

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's liquefied natural gas (LNG) company said Tuesday it has shut down production due to the worsening security situation in the country amid a Saudi-led coalition airstrike campaign targeting Shiite rebels.

The company, whose main shareholder is French oil giant Total SA, declared a case of force majeure —meaning that the war has prevented it from meeting its contracted demand. Yemen is already suffering from electricity shortages, with the capital, Sanaa, without power since Sunday, and the plant's closure will likely exacerbate the situation.

The plant is located in Balhaf in the oil-rich central Shabwa province. Shiite rebels, allied with military units loyal to the former president, have made gains in the province, seizing its capital, Ataq, last week. Rival tribes have battled the advancing rebels as coalition airstrikes targeted rebel locations.

Shabwa province is also a stronghold of Yemen's local al-Qaida branch, which residents say recently launched a bloody ambush on the rebels in Ataq.

A video obtained by The Associated Press and consistent with its reporting in the area showed over a dozen rebels and allied troops killed after the attack. Residents found the bodies on the side of the road Tuesday.

Fighting continued across the country, with tribal forces loyal to the internationally recognized government advancing on a military base held by loyalists to the former president outside the central city of Marib. The fall of the Marib base would clear a path to the rebel-held capital.

Also Tuesday, an aircraft loaded with 76 metric tons of medical supplies arrived in Sanaa, UNICEF said in a statement.

 

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