Despite a worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen amid a war between the Houthi rebels and a coalition between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the poorest Arab country has found a way to restart oil production and has even exported the first cargo: 500,000 barrels from a field in the southern Shabwa province bound for a Chinese company, The National reports.
This is the first outbound shipment of crude oil from Yemen since 2015 when a civil war broke out and quickly escalated into an international conflict. It was offered in an open tender, in which 35 companies from around the world took part, the Yemeni ministry of oil and minerals said in a statement.
Now there are plans to restart the rest of the oil fields in Shabwa and neighboring provinces, the secretary to the oil and minerals minister told The Emirati daily. The provinces are under the control of the elected government that the Houthis are fighting, as a result of the intervention of the Saudi and Emirati forces.
The Houthis have accused Saudi Arabia of stealing more than half of the country’s oil production in collaboration with French Total—a company that has been present in Yemen since before the war.
Meanwhile, the Houthis have offered a two-week ceasefire for the Red Sea to the Arab coalition, which, they said, could be extended and expanded if it is received favorably by the Saudis and the Emiratis.