Ceyhan suspends exports following earthquake, BTC pipeline operational

6 Feb 2023

Quantum Commodity Intelligence - Monday's devastating earthquakes that ripped through Turkey and Syria have left their mark on the region's energy infrastructure with disruptions reported to oil and gas pipelines, along with damage to much-needed power supplies to aid rescue efforts.

Turkey has halted crude exports from its Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean, although that is believed to be as a precaution following the severe earthquakes Monday.

Local officials said, based on early reports, there is no damage to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline carrying oil from Iraq to Turkey or to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which carries Azeri crude to Europe.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the port exported over 1 million bpd of crude in January or 1% of global supplies.

Most of the oil is sourced via the BTC line, as the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline carries crude oil from northern Iraqi Kurdistan to the Mediterranean coast but volumes have been variable over the years due to political infighting and sabotage. 

The BTC line was said to be still operational Monday afternoon with oil flows going into storage at the port, but the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline has been suspended as a precaution while safety checks are carried out. 

The first earthquake — with a 7.7 magnitude — struck the Turkish city of Gaziantep and was felt as far away as Cyprus and Egypt, reported Bloomberg. The second, 7.5-magnitude quake was felt in the Turkish capital Ankara, some 600 kilometres (375 miles) away.

Two explosions were reported on a natural gas pipeline in Turkey's southern Hatay Province, while power stations and power lines have also been damaged in the most severely impacted regions of the country, said officials.  

Meanwhile, operations at Syria's largest oil refinery in the city of Baniyas have been suspended due to damage to equipment caused by a powerful earthquake, the Syrian Oil Ministry said on Monday.

"A crack in the chimney of the power unit of the Baniyas refinery, the leakage of oil products from cracks in the buildings required the shutdown of the refinery to repair the damage. It is expected to return to work in 48 hours," the ministry said in a statement, as quoted by Al Ekhbariya broadcaster.