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Saudi Arabia prepares to extend oil pipeline through Yemen to Arabian Sea

September 3, 2018 at 1:54 am

A gas flame is seen in the desert near the Khurais oilfield, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 27 September 2016 [REUTERS/Ali Jarekji/File Photo]

Saudi Arabia has started to implement precautions against Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz and stop the Gulf oil exports by building an alternative oil pipeline from its borders passing through the Yemeni district of Al-Mahrah to the Arabian Sea.

Local sources in Al-Mahrah Governorate told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the arrival of Saudi forces’  to the city earlier this year was surprising. They deployed all along the coastal strip of Al-Mahrah in preparation for the extension of the Saudi oil pipeline from Al-Kharkhir area close to the Yemeni borders, to the Port of Nishtun in Al-Mahrah.

According to the sources, Saudi Arabia has opened more than 20 sites on the coastal directorates of Al-Mahrah Governorate and prevented citizens from getting near them because they are military sites. However, Yemeni tribesmen and citizens have been in clashes with those forces and stopped some construction operations in those areas.

In an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Yemeni economic researcher Abdul Waheed Al-Obali said that through this plan, Saudi Arabia is seeking to secure an additional line for oil exports in case Iran tightens its grip on the Gulf. At the same time, it appears that Saudi Arabia is aiming to compete with the UAE for access to the Arabian Sea.

Read: Yemenis protest in Aden as local currency plunges

In an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the Yemeni researcher and analyst, Yassin Tamimi, said that the economic incentives come from the exceptional advantages that Al-Mahrah offers. It is a border governorate, includes active commercial land ports.

Tamimi told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed:

The Saudis are undoubtedly seeking to achieve geopolitical ambitions that would end with imposing control over the governorate. However, they have first worked on taking control of the city’s economic resources.

The oil pipeline is not the only project that highlights Saudi Arabia’s aspirations in Yemen. Indeed, Saudi Arabia is also preparing to establish an oil port. Saudi companies have started going to many sites and carrying out field scanning to collect data for the project, as private sources stated to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Cartoon depicting Saudi oil fields

An official document that Yemeni media circulated during the past few days showed a letter HUTA Group for Maritime Works sent to the Saudi ambassador to Yemen expressing its gratitude for trusting the company, to which he gave a “technical and financial offer to design and establish an oil export port in the Yemeni governorate of Al-Mahrah.”

In this regard, official sources in the governorate’s local authorities told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the Saudi forces also went to determine large areas of the Arabian Sea’s water in Al-Mahrah Governorate. They prevented fishers from getting close to them and informed them that these sites are restricted to military sites.