Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda blew up a gas pipeline on Thursday night in the eastern Yemeni province of Shabwa, a local official and residents said.
The attack is the third against oil and gas facilities in the impoverished country within a month, and the second against the same pipeline.
Resident said columns of fire and smoke could be seen from several kilometers away.
A spokesman for Ansar al-Sharia, an armed group affiliated with Qaeda, told Reuters by telephone targeting the gas pipeline was in response to the killing of an al-Qaeda leader in the central Maarib province.
The pipeline transports LNG from Maarib to an export facility at Balhaf. The export terminal opened in 2009 and is led by French oil major Total with three South Korea companies holding stakes, the official said.
Yemen’s oil and gas pipelines have been repeatedly sabotaged since anti-government protests broke out in January 2011. On March 30, the gas pipeline was blown up in retaliation to the killing of five Islamist militants in a U.S. drone attack. A few days later, the militants targeted an oil pipeline.
Yemen is a small crude oil producer with a daily output of about 260,000 barrels per day of oil when all fields are operating, but disruptions to Yemeni exports have added to tight global supplies.
It has proven gas reserves of 16.9 trillion cubic feet as of January 2012, according to the Oil and Gas Journal.
Oil companies operating in the country include Austria’s OMV, the U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum and Canada’s Calvalley Petroleum CVIa.To.