A picture shows part of Balhaf gas facility under construction. February 19, 2009 (KHALED FAZAA/AFP via Getty Images)

Total Starts Maintenance of the Largest Gas Facility in South Yemen


Wed, 05-07-2023 03:08 PM, Aden

Shabwa (South24) 

Exclusive sources told "South24 Center" that nearly 3 months ago, the French "Total" company started maintenance work at Balhaf gas facility in Shabwa governorate, South Yemen.

The sources pointed out that the maintenance work began last April with a budget of one million dollars, after the arrival of equipment and spare parts to the largest gas facility in South Yemen.

The sources pointed out that Balhaf facility needs maintenance work for a period of no less than six months before operating it again.

So far, there is no decision by the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) or the government to restart the facility, which has been suspended for years, according to the same sources.

Last August, the Houthi militia accused France of deploying military forces in Balhaf facility in Shabwa governorate, which Paris denied through a statement by its embassy in Yemen.

The French embassy tweeted: "We became aware of allegations indicating a French military presence at Balhaf site in Yemen. These are absolutely baseless rumors and we officially deny them".

Last September, the Chairman of Yemen's PLC Rashad Al-Alimi revealed conditions set by Total to restart the Balhaf facility and export liquefied gas.

Al-Alimi said in a webinar that Total had expressed its fears that the Houthis would target Balhaf facility with missiles, and stipulated that there be an agreement on security issues to restart the facility.

Later in October and November of that year, Houthi drone attacks on oil ports in Hadramout and Shabwa suspended the production and exportation of crude oil until today.

The Iranian-backed militias are demanding part of the oil and gas revenues in South Yemen in return for reaching a peace agreement that allows for re-export abroad.

Balhaf facility is a strategic gas project in Shabwa governorate, which began work in 2009 in partnership between the Yemeni LNG Company and the French company Total.

Total acquires nearly 40% of the project, which cost billions of dollars.

In April 2015, the facility stopped working after the Yemeni Liquefied Gas company declared a state of force majeure at the facility as a result of the war that the Houthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces started that year.

South24 Center

South YemenShabwaBalhafGasOilFranceHouthisTotalPLC