Yemen to divert 35 LNG cargoes to Asia in 2011

SANAA, November 7 (BestGrowthStock) – Yemen LNG, a liquefied natural
gas venture led by French oil major Total (TOTF.PA: ), will divert
35 cargoes originally meant for U.S. markets to Asia next year
because of higher prices there, an official said on Sunday.

Income from gas exports is an important revenue source for
the impoverished country, a neighbour to top oil exporter Saudi
Arabia but without its vast resources, as the Arabian Peninsula
state struggles to make up for falling crude revenues.

Yemen is under pressure from Washington to crack down on al
Qaeda militants who claimed responsibility for bomb packages
sent on planes bound for the United States last month. Militants
have sometimes targeted Yemen’s energy industry.

“Today our strategy at Yemen LNG is to exploit the
difference of prices between the U.S. and Asia, and to deliver
to Asia the cargoes which were originally meant to be delivered
in the U.S. to enjoy better price,” Francois Rafin, general
manager of Yemen LNG, told a news conference in Sanaa.

He said the company’s production of LNG would increase from
5 million metric tonnes to 6.55 million metric tonnes in 2011.

“We are now planning to divert 30 per cent of the 6.55
million metric tones to be produced during the next year. That
is 35 cargoes,” Rafin said.

He said the company has already diverted 25 cargoes to Asia
out of 85 shipped this year from its plant at the Arabian Sea
port of Balhaf.

LNG demand in the United States, which was expected to be a
major importer, has fallen due to massive increases in domestic
supply from shale gas. [ID:nN26122191]

“The growth in Asia continues to be very strong, the
appetite for clean fuel is there,” Rafin said.

Yemen started the production of LNG from the Balhaf plant in
October last year.

The $4.5 billion LNG project is the largest-ever industrial
project in Yemen, a small non-OPEC oil producer that pumps
around 290,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Rafin said the company shipped gas this year to the United
States, China, Japan, Korea, India, Spain, Mexico Chili and
Kuwait.

(Reporting by Mohamed Sudam, Editing by Erica Billingham)

Yemen to divert 35 LNG cargoes to Asia in 2011