Marib is home to the vast Marib oilfield, which pumps some 20,000 barrels per day. The Yemeni National Oil Company said the province is one of Yemen’s largest oil producing areas and contains the al-Hayn gas field.
Yemen, devastated by a bloody civil war, is home to a host of international oil and gas companies, but the stakes of the civil war have left very little in the way of domestic activity. The government’s sole asset is its internationally recognized government, which sits in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh.
The Houthis, which seek to overthrow the internationally recognized government, are advancing through Yemeni territory toward the Bab al-Mandab strait, a vital waterway through which much of the world’s oil exports pass.
Casualties in Marib have been heavy over the past two weeks. Houthi forces are believed to have overrun Marib’s oil pipeline. Pro-government forces are known to have fled to the southern bank of the Red Sea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.