Iran resumes gas supply to Turkey

Gas flow from Iran to Turkey resumes after nearly week long hiatus caused by sabotage of pipeline

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Aug 4, 2015

The  news agency of Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum (Shana) said Iran has resumed gas exports to Turkey after a pause last week caused by an attack from saboteurs.

Shana quoted the distribution manager of the National Iranian Gas Company on Sunday as saying the sabotaged pipeline had been successfully fixed and so the flow of natural gas will resume immediately.

The damaged pipeline is located in Agri province in eastern Turkey and the attack took place on July 27.

Iran is the second largest supplier of natural gas to Turkey.

Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said that acts of vandalism on the oil pipeline that extends to the Turkish port of Ceyhan from the region and Kirkuk to Turkey have led to an almost complete halt in the transfer of oil.

A KRG statement posted on the Internet on Sunday said that the attacks have cost Erbil more than $250 million.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz commented on the oil pipeline attacks on Monday by saying "Of the two lines in the Iraq-Turkey pipeline, there is no flow in one of them and repairs are ongoing. There is flow in the back up line."

Yildiz and state gas company Botas released a statement on the same day as the July 27 attack saying efforts to fix the pipelines are underway. The blast caused a fire which was swiftly put out, the minister said.

"An explosion occurred as a result of sabotage about 15 kilometres inside the Turkish border on the Turkey-Iran gas pipeline," Yildiz said in a statement.

"According to Turkish officials, the pipeline will become operational within the next three days," Iranian state TV quoted Yadollah Baybordi, a director at the National Iranian Gas Company, as saying.

Turkey's state pipeline operator Botas had previously said that Turkey has not requested additional gas from other countries and there is no problem in meeting domestic demand.

"All precautions have been taken to make sure the natural gas demand is met," Yildiz said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, however it is thought to have been carried of the PKK, the outlawed separatist militant group based in northern Iraq.

Around 10 billion cubic metres of Iranian gas are delivered to Turkey annually through the damaged pipeline, which frequently came under attack from the PKK during the 1990s and up until 2013, when a ceasefire with the Turkish government was established.

The Turkish Air Force recently began a series of airstrikes on numerous PKK bases in Southern Turkish territory and northern Iraq, after a two year peace treaty sealed by then Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was broken by the group in late July.

Over 20 Turkish policemen died in several PKK attacks across Turkey in July, following a suicide attack on the southeastern town of Suruc that claimed the lives of over 30 Turkish Kurds.

The attack is thought to have been carried out by ISIS, however the PKK blamed the Turkish government for the incident, saying enough hadn’t been done to protect Turkish Kurds.

The Turkish air strikes on PKK camps were carried out alongside several operations on ISIS checkpoints in Syria, making Turkey as a full partner of the US-led coalition battling the ISIS insurgency in the region.

TRTWorld and agencies