In April 2015, the Yemen LNG plant was forced to switch to preservation mode, due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen and growing insecurity around the Balhaf site. In a recent update on the situation, Total noted that its actions since then intended to ensure the safety of local employees, and further preserve the Balhaf site so that it can resume LNG production once peace is restored in the region.
Notably, the company adds that the site cannot resume operations safely in light of the security and political situation at both local and national levels, further pinpointing on the damage to the Yemen LNG pipeline in June 2019. Yet, Total now hopes that "it will be possible in the future to restart LNG production, once again contributing to the revenues of the Republic of Yemen."
Total, as well as other foreign shareholders have continued to finance Yemen LNG even without receiving any profit, compensation or any kind advantage, in order to preserve the site and maintain the plant in a good condition, as well as supply power and water to local communities.
In fact, a reduced team of 50 volunteer employees were in charge of operating the utilities, such as electricity nitrogen and water, and further maintaining the units in good working order was deployed for the survival of the liquefaction site and the restarting of an LNG train, using APCI technology.
Moreover, in 2017, the U.N.-recognized government of Yemen had requisitioned some of the unused Balhaf facilities for the coalition forces supporting the government. Yemen LNG complied with the order by the government, and established two distinct areas that were fenced off and had their own separate entrances.
Other partners involved in the project are the U.S.-based Hunt Oil (17.2%), South Korea’s SK Innovation, Hyundai and Kogas (a combined 21.4%) and Yemen’s state-owned YGC and state organization GASSP (a combined 21.7%). Total acts indirectly, as a shareholder or via personnel assigned to the joint venture.
In July, a year after Total signed a MoU with the Government of Oman to develop natural gas resources in the region, the French oil and gas player awarded a contract to Houston-based McDermott International, to provide front-end engineering design (FEED) services for the Sohar LNG bunkering project in Oman. The project was intended to establish Oman as a regional LNG bunkering hub capable of supplying LNG as a fuel to marine vessels.
More recently, Total informed that its first large LNG bunker vessel has been launched, after the signature of a long-term charter contract between Total and MOL in February 2018.The ship is expected to be delivered in 2020, and it will operate in Northern Europe, supplying LNG to commercial vessels for a period of at least 10 years.