Repeated attacks on pipelines since the start of the uprising that ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh have cost Yemen more than $4 billion in lost revenues since February last year, the oil minister said in remarks published late Monday.
Yemen is incurring "economic losses estimated at more than $4 billion due to a halt in pumping from the Ras Issa pipeline," Petroleum and Minerals Minister Hisham Abdullah told the state Saba news agency.
Abdullah said Yemen's main oil export pipeline to the Ras Issa terminal on the Red Sea has been out of operation since February last year due to "repeated attacks."
Some 125,000 barrels per day normally flow through the pipeline, accounting for the bulk of Yemen's oil exports.
Yemen must respond to this crisis "with force ... against these acts of sabotage that are harming the national interest," the minister said.
In November last year, operations at Yemen's main oil refinery in the southern port city of Aden came to a complete halt as crude supplies dried up after a pipeline was attacked.
Attacks on oil and gas pipelines by Al-Qaeda militants or by tribesmen seeking to extract concessions from the central government are common in Yemen.
Al-Qaeda's local branch exploited the decline in central government control that accompanied the Arab Spring uprising that erupted in January last year to expand its operations across the country's south and east.
Yemen produces only about 300,000 barrels of oil a day, most of which is destined for export.