Nexen, an Alberta based subsidiary of China’s CNOOC, said Sunday it will shut down operations at its Block 51 oilfield and BAK PF processing facility in Yemen after it received threats from al Qaeda.

The company told Reuters there was an “undue risk” to staff working at the site due to the threats.

Details about the threats were not disclosed.

Yemen oil ministry reportedly officials expressed surprise at Nexen’s announcement and said the security situation has improved recently.

An unnamed Yemeni oil official suggested weak global oil prices are to blame for the suspension.

According to Yemeni government estimates, Nexen produces about 1,500 barrels per day at Block 51.

“As a prudent operator, we are temporarily shutting down Block 51 PSA field facilities to ensure the safety of our people. The shutdown will be progressed in a timely manner. Our personnel will vacate and production will cease,” a Nexen spokesperson said.

The company said it will continue to monitor the situation in Yemen and will restart operations when the security situation is stable.

Nexen operates Block 51 with a 87.5 percent share.

Yemen’s state owned TYCO holds a 12.5 percent interest.


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