Major Gas Pipeline for South Caucasus Struck by Turkey Explosion

Following an earlier explosion at the beginning of this month, the major gas pipeline for the South Caucasus region, which carries natural gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey, was damaged by an explosion on Turkey’s territory yesterday.

The explosion damaged a section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline in the Sarikamis region of Turkey’s Kars province, on Monday morning.

Energy sector officials said to Reuters that it was thought Kurdish militants had sabotaged the pipeline.

As a result of the explosion, gas supply through the pipeline has been suspended.

The officials told Reuters that gas flow had been stopped on August 3 due to maintenance and had only resumed two days before this latest explosion.

BP Azerbaijan, which operates the field’s development and the gas pipeline’s sections in Azerbaijan and Georgia, reported that the explosion on the pipeline did not affect the work of the Shah Deniz platform in Azerbaijan.

"The complete filling of the pipeline with gas from the field requires three to four days. Since the production at Shah Deniz was restored only on Sunday evening, filling of the pipeline has been just started, and gas has not reached to Turkey yet," BP said to AzerNews.

An explosion had previously hit the pipeline on August 4. As Reuters reported that was days after an attack by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants which halted the flow in a pipeline carrying crude oil to Turkey from Iraq.

Shah Deniz, Azerbaijan's biggest gas field, is being developed by several partners including BP and SOCAR.

The pipeline starts at a terminal near Baku, going through Georgia, and ends in the Turkish city of Erzurum, where there is a gas distribution hub.

25 August 2015 15:43