Turkey's Energy Infrastructure after the Earthquakes: Huge Fire, Stopped Gas and Oil Pipelines

World | February 7, 2023, Tuesday // 08:20
Bulgaria: Turkey's Energy Infrastructure after the Earthquakes: Huge Fire, Stopped Gas and Oil Pipelines @Daily Sabah

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared seven days of national mourning for the thousands of victims of the devastating earthquakes that rocked the country on Monday. The consequences for the country's energy infrastructure remain severe.

A huge fire broke out in the port of Iskenderun in southern Turkey after the earthquake, burning cargo containers. Photos published by the Sabah newspaper show this.

As a result of the tremors, containers were piled up, and dozens of them caught fire. Thick black smoke rises many meters above the harbor.

The strong earthquake that shook southeastern Turkey yesterday has caused serious damage to the country's energy infrastructure, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said.

The powerful 7.8-magnitude quake caused severe damage to infrastructure, especially in Kahramanmaras province, considered the epicenter of the quake, Deonmez told reporters.

Separately, officials said two critical oil pipelines and a nuclear power plant currently under construction remained unaffected.

Serious damage was done to the power transmission and distribution lines for natural gas, Dönmez informed.

Earlier, the state-owned gas pipeline operator BOTAŞ reported that due to a pipeline failure, the flow of natural gas to Gaziantep, Hatay and Kahramanmaraş provinces and some other areas was stopped.

Dönmez confirmed that the main gas transmission line in Turkoğlu district of Kahramanmaraş, near the epicenter, was damaged the most. "This is our main gas transmission pipeline that carries natural gas to Gaziantep, Hatay and Kilis, especially to Kahramanmaras. There may be power outages in these areas at the moment," he added.

Crews are working to restore damaged lines, he said, adding that about 30 substations belonging to the Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation (TEIAŞ) suffered varying degrees of damage.

"We have sent our mobile power plants to the region. In particular, we will try to supply natural gas and power to sites such as hospitals, kitchens and bakeries, both through the method of transporting compressed natural gas (CNG) and through mobile generators," said Dönmez.

There was no damage to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which carries oil from Iraq to Turkey, nor to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTD) pipeline, an energy sector official told Reuters.

However, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said oil flows through the Turkish port of Ceyhan have been temporarily suspended.

"Due to the earthquake that affected Turkey and Syria, and to ensure the safety of oil exports and prevent any untoward incidents, oil exports through the pipeline connecting Kurdistan to Turkey have been suspended," the regional ministry said in a statement. of natural resources.

The statement followed the shutdown of the Ceyhan oil terminal in the southern province of Adana. The Tribeca shipping agency said an emergency meeting would be held on the matter. The Eastern Mediterranean Terminal is located about 155 km from the epicenter of the earthquake. The Kurdish region normally exports about 450,000 barrels of oil per day through Turkey.

"The Kurdistan Regional Government confirms the suspension of oil exports through Turkey to Ceyhan due to the earthquake that affected several areas of the country," Lok Ghafouri, head of Kurdistan's foreign media relations department, tweeted. "Exports will resume once the pipelines are thoroughly inspected," the tweet added.

Most upstream oil producers have storage capacity for several days, so production in Kurdistan should continue in the near term, an oil industry source told Reuters.

As for crude oil flows from Azerbaijan, two sources said there was no damage at the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan terminal, but one of the sources added that inspections would take place in the next 1-2 days. There is sufficient storage capacity in Ceyhan and in Baku and flows can be reduced if necessary, the second source said.

Meanwhile, Tribeca said in a statement that ports in southeastern Turkey were also affected by the earthquake and that delays in operations were reported.

A statement from Limak Group said the dock at Iskenderun port was partially damaged, and photos on social media showed dozens of overturned containers. Footage later showed dark smoke rising from among the containers. After damage inspections, the maritime authority said on Twitter that operations in ports other than Iskenderun were continuing.

The Akkuyu nuclear power plant, Turkey's first such facility currently under construction on the Mediterranean coast, was not damaged, an official of the Russian company building the plant said.

"Tremors with a magnitude of around 3.0 were felt here... but our specialists reported no damage to buildings, cranes or equipment," said Anastasia Zoteeva of Russia's state-run nuclear power company Rosatom. "However, we are conducting extensive diagnostic measures to ensure that construction and installation activities can continue safely."

The planned completion of the first unit of the Akkuyu NPP and the delivery of nuclear fuel is scheduled for the first half of this year. The remaining three reactors are due to come online by the end of 2026, at a rate of one per year, to eventually have a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts. Once completed, the plant is expected to produce up to 10% of the country's electricity needs.

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Tags: turkey, infrastructure, Earthquake, gas
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