SANAA, Yemen, April 14 (UPI) -- Declining security in Yemen means it's time to halt all production and start evacuating personnel, a Yemeni liquefied natural gas company said Tuesday.
"Due to further degradation of the security situation in the vicinity of [the industrial port town of] Balhaf, Yemen LNG has decided to stop all LNG producing and exporting operations and start evacuation of the site personnel," the company said in a statement.
The company has headquarters in the capital, Sanaa, which was seized by the Houthi rebel group earlier this year.
Yemen's recent crises stem in part from the political upheavals that grew out of the Arab Spring movements that gripped much of the Middle East and North African in 2011. A Saudi-led operation, Decisive Storm, aims to dislodge Houthis from power and reaffirm the leadership of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Yemen LNG said it switched its plant to "a preservation mode" and declared force majeure, removing it from contractual obligations because of circumstances beyond its control, while the conflict rages.
"The company will continue to survey closely the situation on the plant and its vicinity," it said.
Norwegian energy company DNO stopped work last month in Yemen because of the tense security situation in the country.
Yemen is not a major oil producer, though more than 3 million barrels of oil per day passes through its Bab el-Mandab shipping channel. Yemen has enough natural gas reserves on hand to be able to export 6.7 million tons of LNG per year for the next 20 years.