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Tue 6 Nov 2007 03:07 PM

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Yemen patches up bombed pipeline

Repairs to oil pipeline carrying crude oil to Red Sea export facility completed following bombing by tribesmen.

Yemen patches up bombed pipeline

Yemen has finished repairing a pipeline that carries crude oil to an export facility on the Red Sea after tribesmen bombed a segment of the grid on Monday, a government oil official said.

"The damage was completely repaired in the early hours of the morning," the official said on Tuesday. Officials had said on Monday the bombing did not affect export operations.

The pipeline forms part of a network that brings crude from the Marib oil basin to storage tanks at the Ras Issa terminal for export.

A security official said government forces were still trying to track down the perpetrators, who preliminary investigations indicate are tribesmen not linked to Islamist militants.

No one was harmed in the bombing, which took place in a desert area in the eastern Marib province, officials have said.

US ally Yemen is a small producer of oil with output of around 330,000 barrels per day (bpd) and exports of about 200,000 bpd.

It has one large oil refinery at Aden with a throughput capacity of about 100,000 bpd.

In 2003, disgruntled tribesmen damaged the same pipeline in a similar bombing. Tribesmen sometimes kidnap holidaymakers and foreigners working in Yemen to press for better schools, roads and services or the release of prisoners.

Yemen has been widely seen in the West as a haven for Islamist militants, including Al Qaeda supporters.

It joined the US-led war on terrorism launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US and has been battling Islamic militants for years.

It foiled two suicide attacks on oil and gas installations in 2006, days after Al Qaeda urged Muslims to target Western interests. Al Qaeda's wing in Yemen claimed responsibility for the foiled attacks and promised more strikes.

In 2002 militants bombed the French oil supertanker Limburg off Yemen's coast. In 2000, a suicide attack on the US warship Cole killed 17 US sailors.

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