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Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Pipeline Blasted Again

An explosion has damaged a section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (South Caucasus pipeline) gas pipeline in the Sarikamis region of Turkey’s Kars province, the Anadolu Agency reported on August 25.

Gas supply through the pipeline has been suspended. According to the agency, the explosion was arranged by PKK. 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 didn’t affect the work of the Shah Deniz platform in Azerbaijan.

The company also said that production at the field is gradually increasing after the maintenance work. BP suspended the work on the platform on August 2, 2015 for about 20 days to enable efficient maintenance, inspection and project work to be undertaken, and only of August 23 resumed natural gas production at the Shah Deniz largest gas condensate field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.

“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 noted. This is not the first case of this pipeline’s explosion. The same section of the pipeline was blasted on August 4 as well.

From Baku up to Georgia’s border with Turkey, the BTE’s technical operator is BP, and Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR is its commercial operator. The Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, also called the South Caucasus Pipeline, is necessary for exporting Azerbaijan’s gas from the Shah Deniz field. 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.