ANKARA, (Reuters) – A section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline linking Iraq and Turkey was still ablaze on Saturday after an apparent Kurdish guerrilla bomb attack but the fire was under control, a Turkish energy ministry source told Reuters.
Oil exports from Iraq remained halted after the blast in southeast Turkey on Friday evening and the source said the timing of the pipeline’s repairs and reopening would only become clear once the fire had been extinguished. “The fire is continuing but as of this morning it has been brought under control,” the source said.
Sources from the ministry and the pipeline company Botas had previously told Reuters the attack occurred around 8:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) on Friday evening near Midyat in Mardin province, southeast Turkey.
No details on the scale of damage were available. Local officials in Mardin declined to comment.
Separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels have claimed responsibility in the past for similar attacks on pipelines in eastern Turkey.
The PKK, regarded as a terrorist organisation by the United States and European Union as well as Turkey, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 with the aim of carving out an ethnic homeland in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey.
The blast damaged a 46-inch pipeline, the sources said. Military sources in the region told Reuters military personnel had established control in the affected area and that the blast appeared to have been caused by sabotage.