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Iran-Turkey gas pipeline blown up, repairs to take three days

Istanbul — * Attack blamed on Kurdish PKK
* Imports halted after bomb
* Iran sees repairs taking three days

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Turkey's natural gas imports from Iran were halted late Monday following a bomb attack on the pipeline 15 km (nine miles) inside Turkey near the border with Iran. Repairs to the line are expected to take around three days to complete.

The Turkish energy ministry said in a statement the bomb, which it blamed on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), caused a fire that was later put out.

An Iranian gas official said Turkey had said the pipeline would be ready to use again in the next three days.

"Based on information from the Turkish side, the problem will be solved within the next three days," Yadollah Bybverdi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

Bybverdi said gas flows would resume once Turkey's Botas, the country's monopoly gas importer, said it was ready to receive gas.

A Turkish energy ministry spokesman said that in the meantime Turkey would not suffer any gas shortages as flows from its other gas suppliers were sufficient to meet demand.

Turkish fighter jets have recently carried out raids against PKK bases in northern Iraq, and the police have rounded up hundreds of alleged supporters of the group in Turkish cities.

The Kurdish news agency Firat News, often used by the PKK as a means of issuing statements, carried news of the attack on the gas line but no claim of responsibility.

Turkey imports 9.6 Bcm/year of gas from Iran, which makes Iran Turkey's second largest gas supplier.

According to data released by Turkish energy regulator EPDK in 2014, Turkey imported 8.932 Bcm from Iran, 18.1% of the total 49.3 Bcm imported.

The most recent EPDK data indicates that in May Turkey imported 473 million cu m from Iran, or 14.2% of its imports for the month.

--David O'Byrne,
--Aresu Eqbali,
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,