A fire on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline is still burning in eastern Turkey on Saturday and repairs may take one to two weeks or longer, sources at Turkey's state-owned pipeline company Botas said.
A senior company official told Reuters that the length of time needed for repairs after Tuesday's blast would depend on the method used.
World oil prices have risen this week as a result of the fire and previous estimates on Thursday that the pipeline could be closed for up to two weeks. It normally carries Azeri oil which is high quality and worth more than many other crudes.
Technical teams have been sent to the site of the blaze on the one million-barrel-per-day pipeline to assess the damage, the senior official said.
"The technical teams will begin directing activities. If one method of repair is chosen it will take one week to fix the pipeline. If another method is chosen it could take two weeks or more," he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
He did not give further details.
The $4 billion 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.
The biggest hindrance to firefighting efforts has been oil that has settled in the pipeline since flow was stopped on Tuesday. A second Botas source said the fire was expected to be put out on Saturday.
"The fire is continuing, but has weakened since yesterday ... It is expected to be put out today, but it is taking longer than expected to extinguish," the source told Reuters.
High level officials from the BTC consortium have arrived in the province of Erzincan, where the fire is burning, to examine the condition of the pipeline and discuss how to act, he said.
PKK militants claimed responsibility for the explosion and ensuing fire and said they would carry out more attacks on economic targets within Turkey. But military and local official sources say the fire was due to a technical error and had not been caused by sabotage.
Last Mod: 10 Ağustos 2008, 15:10