Security forces uncovered the attempt when a militant was encountered in the process of setting fire to the pipeline, the Yemen Observer reports.
Police engaged the suspect in a short gun battle before he escaped.
Yemen is battling a Shiite rebellion in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and a growing presence of al-Qaida fighters. Meanwhile, the country struggles with looming poverty and a dilapidated infrastructure.
A report from Yemen's Central Bank in 2009 showed domestic consumption of oil increased to 15.6 million barrels per day, up from 13.2 million in 2008. The government in 2009 said low oil prices were to blame, however, for its economic troubles.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency shows the overall Yemeni energy sector has been on the decline since at least 2006.
Yemen had recorded steady losses in revenue from its energy sector, forcing the government to look to non-oil investments.