A massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday halted operations at Turkey’s major oil export hub in Ceyhan and stopped key crude oil flows from Iraq and Azerbaijan, officials said.
The Tribeca shipping agency said in a notice that the BTC terminal at Ceyhan that exports Azeri crude oil will be closed through Wednesday pending damage assessments. Azerbaijan uses the Turkish port of Ceyhan as its main crude export hub, with a flow of about 650,000 barrels per day (bpd).
BP Azerbaijan said a “small” oil leak had been found at Ceyhan, which led to operations being halted, and had been stopped. A source familiar with Azeri flows said there was sufficient storage capacity in Ceyhan and in Baku, Azerbaijan, and a second source said flows could be reduced if needed.
After Monday’s earthquake, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) halted flows through the pipeline it operates that runs from Iraq’s northern Kirkuk fields to Ceyhan, the region’s ministry of natural resources (MNR) said.
The KRG had been pumping 400,000 bpd and Iraq’s federal government was pumping 75,000 bpd through the pipeline, an oil industry source told Reuters.
Oil exports will resume after a “careful inspection of the pipelines is finalised,” the MNR said in a statement.
Most upstream oil producers have several days of storage capacity, so KRG production should continue in the near term, the oil industry source added.
The eastern Mediterranean terminal of Ceyhan is some 155 km (96 miles) from the area of the magnitude 7.8 quake which struck southern Turkey and northwest Syria early on Monday, killing more than 2,400 people across a swathe of the two countries as buildings collapsed.
It was the worst tremor to strike Turkey this century and was followed in the early afternoon by another large quake of magnitude 7.7.
Turkey’s state pipeline operator BOTAS said natural gas flows were halted to Gaziantep, Hatay and Kahramanmaras provinces and some other districts as a result of damage to a gas transmission line.
Residents in northern Iraqi provinces reported feeling a light tremor following the earthquake.