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BP says Azerbaijan's BTC exports continue, storing crude at quake-damaged Turkish port


No damage 'as of now' to strategic South Caucasus pipeline

Ceyhan loadings suspended after 'small leakage' at terminal

Storage facilities being used during loading suspension

  • Author
  • Nick Coleman
  • Editor
  • James Leech
  • Commodity
  • Natural Gas Oil Shipping

Exports of Azerbaijan's flagship crude oil via the 1,770 km BTC pipeline are continuing, despite a huge earthquake in southern Turkey early Feb. 6, with the crude being stored in the Turkish port of Ceyhan due to loadings being temporarily suspended following a leak, BP said.

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BP said tanker loadings had been suspended at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, the main conduit for Azerbaijan's sought-after BTC crude, following the massive earthquake.

However, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline remains undamaged, a BP spokesperson confirmed.

It came amid reports of further earthquake activity that has caused major loss of life and infrastructure disruption in Turkey and neighboring Syria.

"There's no damage as of now to the pipeline and its facilities, therefore export operations continue," the BP spokesperson told S&P Global Commodity Insights. "BTC crude oil is being stored at the oil tanks in the Ceyhan terminal."

"There was a small leakage reported at Ceyhan and therefore tanker loading operations were suspended. But the leakage was stopped," the spokesperson said, adding that an assessment of the damage was ongoing.

The decision to suspend loadings was taken by the operator of the Turkish portion of the BTC route, Botas International Anonim Sirketi, the BP spokesperson said.

Other sources said the suspension of loadings at Ceyhan had also halted shipments of Kirkuk crude from northern Iraq, which is sent to the terminal via a different pipeline system.

The BTC, Iraq-Turkey and Batman-Dortyol oil pipelines all pass through the zone hit by the quake.

Crude flows through the BTC pipeline averaged 617,658 b/d in 2022, up 13% from 2021, but down 4.2% from 2019, the last year before flows were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Production from the main fields that supply BTC crude has been in long-term decline, but flows have been bolstered by the addition of condensate from the separate Shah Deniz gas complex.

During 2022, Iraqi flows via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline to Ceyhan averaged 477,043 b/d, down 6.8% from 2021 and down 10% from 2019.