The devastating earthquake in Turkey halted exports via the key Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline although it is thought to be close to restarting.
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Gaziantep, in Turkey, early on Monday morning. A second shake, of 7.5 magnitude, struck around 10 hours later.
The recent death toll is thought to be 4,900 in Turkey and Syria, although there is still much uncertainty. In addition to the impact of the earthquake on infrastructure, temperatures are low, raising further risks for people trapped in rubble.
Turkey’s Botas initially said there had been no damage to oil pipelines. It closed the BTC later on Monday.
Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) said today that the link to Ceyhan had been suspended. Operations at the Ceyhan terminal are on hold during inspections for possible damage.
GKP said the earthquakes had not damaged its production facilities and wells. Furthermore, its staff are also safe.
The company noted it had storage that would allow production at a “curtailed rate” for the next few days. Should the stoppage continue, though, it would need to suspend production until the pipeline could resume taking away oil.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates as the situation develops,” the company said, sending its thoughts to those affected by the tragedy.
Bloomberg has reported this morning that the BTC is expected to restart. The news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying that Botas had completed checks and that exports would restart shortly.
BTC exports were running at around 1 million barrels per day. Around 400,000 bpd comes from Kurdistan, with oil revenues playing a crucial part in the autonomous region’s budget.
Botas said it also had teams in the field working on restoring gas pipelines, it said.
“Our teams are in the field under extremely difficult weather and terrain conditions”, Botas said. “Our efforts continue to provide safe gas flows to our citizens in co-ordination with the gas distribution companies.”