Recovery in the pipeline as Yemen plans major lift in oil, LNG exports

A Yemeni oil worker looks out at the Aden refinery after it was reactived in 2016. The port city is key to Yemen’s plans to boost crude production. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2019
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Recovery in the pipeline as Yemen plans major lift in oil, LNG exports

  • 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

NEW DELHI: The legitimate 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, the country’s oil minister said on Sunday.
The government of Abed Rabbo 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 Arab-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 the Arab Sea (Arabian Sea) to resume exports from these blocks,” Aws Abdullah Al-Awd, Hadi’s oil minister, 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.
The country has proven oil reserves of around 3 billion barrels, according to the
US 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 now things are coming back. Hopefully, 2019 will be good for Yemen,” he said.
He predicted that LNG output would rise in 2019 to 6.7 million tons 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.
He noted that companies including Total, US-based Hunt Oil and Korean companies operate the LNG project.


Lessors doubt Jet Airways rescue plan, pull out more planes

Updated 2 min 7 sec ago
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Lessors doubt Jet Airways rescue plan, pull out more planes

  • The troubles at India’s Jet, which is saddled with a billion dollars in debt, have rekindled memories of Kingfisher Airlines’ collapse in 2012
  • The carrier added it was keeping its lessors informed about efforts to improve its financial situation

SINGAPORE/BENGALURU: International lessors have grounded more Jet Airways planes prior to potentially moving them out of India, as skepticism builds whether a state-led bailout of the carrier can clear their dues on time, sources familiar with the matter said.
The troubles at India’s Jet, which is saddled with a billion dollars in debt, have rekindled memories of Kingfisher Airlines’ collapse in 2012 that forced lessors to write off millions of dollars. Jet has defaulted on loans and has not paid pilots, leasing firms and suppliers for months.
“There’s some talk that the money is going to come but lessors have heard this for too long,” one leasing source said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
“We are not convinced with the restructuring plan. This is panning out just like Kingfisher. Banks took control but they never wanted to take a majority stake and run the airline.”
Nine of Jet’s planes have been grounded by lessors, versus the four it reported last month, with AerCap Holdings NV and BOC Aviation Ltd. among those who have pulled out planes, sources told Reuters.
Cross-checks of the Jet fleet by Reuters on FlightRadar24 also show that nine of its planes have stopped flying over the last four weeks. That excludes two more that are at Singapore’s Seletar Airport for, according to sources, maintenance work.
Jet, however, said on Thursday that five planes had been grounded due to non-payment of dues to lessors, as reported to regulators. The carrier added it was keeping its lessors informed about efforts to improve its financial situation.
BOC Aviation and AerCap declined to comment.
“We are waiting to see what the workout plan has in terms of us getting paid. The situation is very dicey,” an executive at another lessor said. “We have to make sure our assets are protected. Indian government and speedy resolutions are not words we normally use in the same sentence.”
Jet, after months of crisis-talks to plug a 85 billion rupee ($1.2 billion) funding hole, agreed a draft plan last week to sell a majority stake to a consortium led by the State Bank of India at 1 rupee, under regulations that permit banks to convert debt to equity in a defaulting firm.
The stake sale will be followed by an equity raising, debt restructuring and the sale and leaseback of jets, but the plan needs approvals from several stakeholders.
Jet shareholders will vote later on Thursday to provide general approvals for a debt-to-equity swap.
The airline has posted losses for four quarters, battered by high fuel prices and a weak currency. Its shares plunged 67 percent in 2018, wiping out $1 billion from its value and making it the second-worst performer among airline stocks globally.
Jet has a fleet of about 123 mainly Boeing planes, including 16-owned aircraft. The rest are leased from many lessors including GE Capital Aviation Services, US-based BBAM and Japan’s SMBC Aviation Capital, sources said, underscoring the need to get lessors on board with the bailout plan.
Jet’s management team, however, was unable to provide a timeline for the receipt of approvals and funds under the bailout plan on a call with analysts last week.
But a senior Boeing executive struck a positive note, saying “once lessors see the money come into their pockets, that’s when the edginess will go away.”
“Right now they are only seeing all this paperwork ... it will take three months for things to settle,” Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president for Asia Pacific and India sales at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said.
Keskar said Jet’s lessors were taking deliveries of new Boeing 737 MAX planes but that they had held back 4-5 of the jets in Seattle pending payment from the Indian carrier.
The Boeing executive, however, was optimistic that the situation would stabilize in the near term.
“The government is interested in making sure that another airline doesn’t go away and another debacle doesn’t happen in a very high-growth country,” Keskar said on the sidelines of the Aero India airshow in Bengaluru.