PKK claims blast as oil pipeline fire blazing

PKK militants claimed responsiblity for the explosion on the pipeline in a statement on its website.

PKK claims blast as oil pipeline fire blazing
A fire continued to burn on Thursday on the key Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, said a source at Turkey's Energy Ministry, as PKK militants claimed responsibility for the blast which caused it.

The closure of the pipeline after an explosion in eastern Turkey on Tuesday night has boosted oil prices, while BP said the BTC partners had declared force majeure on exports, freeing themselves from contractual obligations.

BP said on Thursday the group which it leads producing oil in Azerbaijan had started diverting crude slated for the Turkish port of Ceyhan to other routes, including the Georgian port of Supsa, after the explosion.

"We are actively considering alternative routes," BP's spokeswoman in Azerbaijan told Reuters.

She said some crude had already been diverted to Supsa on the Black Sea. She also said BP and its partners had started reducing oil output from their fields to avoid a glut on the onshore facilities.

The blaze is expected to be put out on Thursday, after which damage on the pipeline can be assessed. There was no timetable for its reopening on Thursday morning, the Turkish Energy Ministry source, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

The BTC pipeline pumps the equivalent of more than 1 percent of world supply from fields in the Azeri sector of the Caspian Sea to Ceyhan on the Turkish Mediterranean coast.

BP owns 30.1 percent of BTC, while Socar holds 25 percent. Other shareholders include U.S. Chevron and ConocoPhillips, Norway's StatoilHydro, Italy's ENI and France's Total.

PKK militants claimed responsiblity for the explosion on the pipeline in a statement on its website.

The PKK, which usually attacks targets in southeastern Turkey, previously said it was behind a blast on an Iranian-Turkish natural gas pipeline earlier this year. The attack halted gas exports from Iran to Turkey for five days.

Reuters
Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2008, 16:56
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