ANKARA (Reuters) - Kurdish militants attacked Turkey’s Shah Deniz pipeline carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan early on Tuesday, but the blast did not impact supply as flow had already been halted for maintenance, the energy minister said on Tuesday.
The blast came days after another attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) halted flows along a pipeline carrying crude oil to Turkey from Iraq.
“With last night’s attack, the separatist terror organization (PKK) has once again shown that they aim to prevent our people from accessing their most basic needs,” Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said in an e-mailed statement.
The explosion on the Shah Deniz pipeline took place in Turkey’s Posof province near the border with Georgia early on Tuesday.
Britain’s BP said on Monday it had suspended operations on the Shah Deniz platform in the Caspian Sea as well as the Shah Deniz facility inside the Sangachal terminal for planned maintenance from Aug. 2.
Shah Deniz, Azerbaijan’s biggest gas field, is being developed by partners including BP, Norway’s Statoil, Azeri state energy company SOCAR and others.
There has been a surge in violence by the PKK against Turkish security forces and infrastructure since mid-July. Turkey launched reciprocal air strikes against PKK camps in northern Iraq on July 24.
Reporting by Orhan Coskun; writing by Ece Toksabay; editing by Jonny Hogg and Jason Neely