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Major oil terminal and pipeline shut down following earthquakes in Turkey

07 February 2023

A major Turkish oil export hub and a key crude oil pipeline were shut down following the 7.8 and 7.7 magnitude earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria on February 6. Operations at the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Terminal in Ceyhan on Turkey’s southern coast were stopped after a “small” leak was reported while crude oil imports from Iraq via the Kirkuk–Ceyhan Oil Pipeline were also stopped.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

As well as linking Kirkuk in Iraq with the Mediterranean, the BTC Terminal in Ceyhan is also the main export hub for crude oil flowing from Azerbaijan with a capacity of around 650,000 barrels per day (bpd). According to Reuters news agency, the BTC Terminal was closed following the large earthquakes to allow for damage assessments after a “small” leak was discovered. The leak was quickly fixed, and exports were expected to resume on February 7.

The pipelines connected to Ceyhan, including the Kirkuk–Ceyhan Oil Pipeline, were also shut down following the earthquakes. Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said that operations were halted so that inspections could be conducted. The pipeline are expected to re-open on either February 7 or 8.

The earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria have so far killed over 5,000 people with the toll expected to rise as rescue efforts continue. They were the worst to have hit Turkey in over a century. The country’s state pipeline operator BOTAS said that immediately following the first earthquake, its teams were put on high alert and damage assessment work began. As a precautionary measure, natural gas flows were halted to several provinces including Gaziantep, Hatay and Kahramanmaras.

The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) has said that Turkey’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority informed the agency that there was no impact from the earthquakes on nuclear safety and security in the country. As of February 7, there had been no issues related to radiological safety and security of radioactive sources, and the country's under-construction Akkuyu nuclear power plant is unaffected.

Russia’s state nuclear energy company Rosatom, which is building the plant, said that tremors were felt at the site but no damage was caused. Despite this, Rosatom said it would carry out extensive testing to ensure construction can continue safely.

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