February 10, 2019 / 10:05 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Yemen aims to export about 75,000 bpd oil in 2019-Minister

(Adds quotes from interview, plans to resume LNG production.)

NEW DELHI, Feb 10 (Reuters) - The Saudi-backed government in Yemen hopes to scale up its crude production to 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, with exports touching about 75,000 bpd, its oil minister told Reuters on Sunday.

The government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi controls the southern port city of Aden and areas holding Yemen's oil-and-gas fields. The Iranian-aligned Houthi group controls the capital Sanaa and the oil terminal of Ras Issa on the western coast.

Yemen's oil output has collapsed since 2015 when the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen’s war to try to restore Hadi's government to power.

"We will maintain production from four blocks and are planning to build a pipeline to Arab Sea (Arabian Sea) to resume exports from these blocks," Hadi's oil minister, Aws Abdullah al-Awd, said in an interview.

The conflict has choked energy output and shuttered a key export terminal and pipeline.

Yemen produced an average of 50,000 bpd of crude in 2018 compared with around 127,000 bpd in 2014. Last year it exported some quantities of oil.

Yemen has proven oil reserves of around 3 billion barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The oil minister said Yemen also wanted to resume production of LNG, which had been halted as a result of the conflict.

"Our country has been affected by the war for the past three years, but thank God, now things are coming back. Hopefully 2019 will be good for Yemen," he said.

He predicted LNG output would rise in 2019 to 6.7 million tonnes and half of that amount would be exported.

"In 2020, we hope to export all of our LNG production, mainly to customers in Asia," he said, noting companies including Total, U.S-based Hunt Oil and Korean companies operate the LNG project. (Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Neil Fullick)

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