TEHRAN, Aug. 20, (Mehr News Agency) - Following an explosion in the pipeline carrying Iran's natural gas to Turkey, the gas flow to this neighboring republic was disrupted last night.
A strong explosion hit a natural gas pipeline from Iran to Turkey in the eastern Turkish province of Agri on Saturday night, Cihan News Agency reported on Sunday.
The explosion occurred in the natural gas transfer unit of the Turkish Natural Gas Pipeline Company (BOTAS) on Saturday night at around 9.30 pm near the village of Gecitalan. A fire broke out and several firefighting vehicles were sent to the region to bring it under control after four hours of heavy fight.
Agri Governor Halil Ibrahim Akpinar, who arrived at the scene after blast, said that they suspect of a terrorist sabotage. PKK terror organization had carried out attacks in the region in the past.
The blast was so strong that it was even heard nearly 40 kilometers away. The flames reached to the heights of 80 meters.
The fire also damaged the power lines in the region, causing blackout in the city of Agri.
Turkey has not officially informed Iran on the pipeline's current condition or its repair time yet, Hushang Moradfar, an official with Iran's gas company said.
As the only purchaser of Iran's natural gas, Turkey was to import a total of 8.6 billion cubic meters of gas until the end of May, through the 1,598-mile pipeline, but it has only succeeded in injecting 2.53 billion cubic feet into its gas network.
Iran's Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh had recently traveled to Turkey to discuss expanding the conduit for exports to Europe.
... Payvand News - 8/21/06 ... --