French major Total quietly announced in its annual report last month that it was selling its 15% stake in Yemen’s (once) 30,000 b/d Block 5 – its last ‘production asset’ in the war-torn country. The agreement “remains subject to the authorities’ approval” – but with a reentry unlikely any time soon, the Total exit looks a done deal.

Block 5 was once Yemen’s second largest producing block but production halted in 2015 when the Saudi-led...