Gazprom hikes gas supply after blasts

Gazprom hikes gas supply after blasts

Gazprom hikes gas supply after blasts

Turkish technicians inspect the site of blast, which halted gas flow from Iran. Over 25 Turkish soldiers were wounded in the blast blamed on PKK militants. AA photo

Russian energy giant Gazprom increased its natural gas supply to Turkey by 50 percent on Oct. 19, hours after an attack on Iranian-Turkish gas pipeline halted gas flow from the Islamic Republic.

Some 28 Turkish soldiers were wounded when suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) detonated explosives planted at the pipeline between the eastern provinces of Ağrı and Erzurum, as a military vehicle was passing by late Oct. 18. One soldier was transferred to an Erzurum hospital with serious third degree burns, while others sustained minor injuries and were transferred to nearby hospitals.

A fire broke out due to the blast, but was subsequently extinguished after the flow of gas in the pipeline was cut off.

Gazprom said in a written statement that the gas supply to Turkey had been increased from 32 million cubic meters per day to 48 million cubic meters per day following an official demand from Turkey’s state-run pipeline company BOTAŞ.

Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said Turkey did not have any shortage of gas after the interruption, adding that Russia and Azerbaijan had provided additional supplies. “We don’t have any problem regarding natural gas supplies,” Yıldız was quoted as telling Anatolia news agency. “Both Azerbaijan and Russia ... have raised capacity by 50 percent after a telephone conversation.”

The attack came only five days after natural gas supplies from Iran to Turkey resumed following a six-day interruption due to a blast near the town of Doğubeyazıt, close to the Iranian border.

Gazprom had also increased its supplies after that blast.

Ağrı Governor Mehmet Tekinarslan said wounded soldiers had been immediately taken to hospital following the attack. Only the soldier with third degree burns was injured seriously and taken to a hospital in neighboring Erzurum, the governor said.

“The bomb was detonated by remote control as a vehicle transporting soldiers was passing by, and members of the military staff in charge of the security of the road were wounded. Most of the wounds are first-degree burns, and all wounded soldiers were taken to hospital after the attack. The one who is in a critical condition has been taken to an Erzurum hospital,” Tekinarslan said.

Tekinarslan also said an operation had been launched in the region to apprehend the militants responsible for the blast.

Gazprom announced that because the transportation of the gas flow had been halted for an unknown period, BOTAŞ had demanded that Russia increase the flow through the Blue Stream gas pipeline, which is designed to deliver Russian natural gas to Turkey across the Black Sea. Gazprom said the supply had been increased from 32 million cubic meters per day to 48 million cubic meters per day. It was not yet clear when the bombed pipeline will resume transporting gas.