Thursday, July 07, 2011

Yemen's fuel crisis starves economy

SHOOT: This is one reason why energy prices are due to rise: unrest across the border in Saudi and Yemen desperate for energy during a period of already tight markets.

Jul 4, 2011 
Fuel shortages have caused three-mile-long queues at Yemeni petrol stations. Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

SANA'A // Streets are empty as hundreds of thousands of vehicles are off the roads. Thousands of cars line up in front of petrol stations waiting for their turn at the pump. The Yemeni petrol crisis has seen the loss of thousands of jobs because people cannot get to work.
Yemenis are forced to either wait more than a week in front of petrol stations or buy it for six times the price on the black market.

With the petrol crisis entering its second month, people have become impatient. Mansoor Rajeh, a car owner who waited six days in front of a gas station to fill his car up, said: "We can't afford the petrol and this is making our life difficult. Politicians are not working for the people. We are dying and they are looking."
Mr Rajeh was forced to buy it from the black market in the end. "Prices of oil in Yemen are the highest worldwide while the Yemeni people are one of the poorest worldwide," he said.
Saudi Arabia donated three million barrels of oil four weeks ago. That did not stop the crisis from growing.

Yesterday, the government announced that it will repair a damaged oil pipeline in coming days. Yemen's main oil pipeline has been shut since an attack by tribesmen in mid-March, while another standing empty since the March incident was blown up last week.
Yemen's vice president, Abdrabhu Mansur Hadi, said during a meeting with Britain's ambassador to Yemen: "The repair of the oil pipeline will be carried out within the coming days in addition to the import of big quantities of import of crude oil and products." The state news agency gave no further details.

For now, lines in front of petrol stations are three miles long at times.
The Yemeni government announced in mid June that the first batch of Saudi oil reached Yemen and will be distributed to Yemeni market immediately. "Where is the distribution the government announced. I have been waiting for two weeks and still did not get one drop of oil," said Mohammed Basalem, the clinic owner in Sana'a who used candles to treat his patients.
He said the electricity cuts in Sana'a continue throughout the day and as it is only on one hour of the day.

Political powers in Yemen blame one another for the crisis and no one is willing to put an end to it.
Vice-president Hadi said the 3 million barrels received was not enough to halt the Yemeni oil crisis. He explains that 50 per cent of the crude oil is being used for electricity.

"The Yemeni government used to have three months of oil reserves, but the oil crisis in Yemen took that away," he said.

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