Yemen suspends top officials over oil shortage

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Yemen suspends top officials over oil shortage

Post by BLACK on Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:06 am

SANAA: Two top officials in the Yemen's Ministry of Oil and Minerals were suspended from duty due to acute shortage of fuel in the country, the Defense Ministry said.

"Amer Salem Al-Aidaroos, minister of oil and minerals, and Omer Al-Arhabi, executive director of the Yemen Petroleum Company, have been suspended from duty on account of the popular discontent caused by the chronic lack of fuel" the website said in a statement. The deputies of the suspended officials were designated to run the ministry and the company.

For a week, a fuel shortage has led to long queues at petrol stations and traffic jams in Yemen, which produces 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day but its oil production is declining by about five percent each year.

While gasoline is in short supply in the capital Sanaa, diesel shortages afflict the rest of the country, according to residents of Saada in the north and Maarib in the south.

Petrol station managers have stepped up their protests in recent days, some threatening to rally in the streets if supplies fail to arrive soon.

No official explanation has been given for the fuel shortage in Yemen, which is also battling Al-Qaeda militants, northern rebels and southern separatists.

Suspected Al-Qaeda militants sabotaged an oil pipeline in the southern Yemen province of Shabwa on Tuesday.

On June 12, armed men blew up an oil pipeline in Marib province and the authorities blamed Al-Qaeda militants — among them two Saudis.

Earlier, tribal sources had said tribesmen used a bulldozer to expose the oil pipeline and then blew it up in retaliation for an attack on one of their chiefs accused of harboring Al-Qaeda operatives.

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