Armed tribesmen have blown up Yemen's main oil pipeline, halting the flow to the export terminal on the Red Sea coast, tribal sources and an industry official have said.

The 435km pipeline, which links the Safir oil fields in Marib province, east of the capital, to the Ras Isa terminal, near the port of Hodeida, has been a repeated target of sabotage.

Wednesday’s attack hit a section of pipeline in the Sarwah district of Marib, tribal sources told the AFP news agency.

It brought the flow to a "complete halt," an industry official said.

The motive for the latest sabotage was not immediately clear, but Yemen's heavily armed tribes frequently target oil and other infrastructure in a bid to extract concessions from the central government.

Yemen is a minor producer but relies on oil and gas exports for 90 percent of its foreign currency earnings.

Attacks on infrastructure cost the impoverished country $4.75bn over the two years from March 2011 to March 2013, according to government figures.

Source: Agencies