Monday, August 11, 2008


A few people have noted an odd coincidence. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline (BTC), the only one that carries crude oil from Azerbaijan and is not controlled by Russia, was hit by an explosion on Turkish territory about a week before the war in South Ossetia and Georgia started.

BP, a major shareholder in the pipeline says that the fire has been extinguished but repairs will take another week or two. There seems to be some debate as to what caused the fire.
Kurdish separatists claimed responsibility for the explosion and said they would carry out more attacks on economic targets inside Turkey. Military and local official sources said the fire was due to a technical error and was not due to sabotage.
By Kurdish separatists, the Guardian presumably means the PKK, the organization that is widely believed to have been responsible for other recent explosions in Istanbul. The PKK is not only a terrorist but a Marxist organization with close links in the past with the Soviet Union.

If they did cause the explosion on the BTC pipeline it would be of some interest, as, since then the Russians have bombed the Georgian section of it. Or, at least, dropped bombs near to the pipeline. Or, at least, so said the Georgian Economy Minister, Eka Sharashidze, with the Russians neither confirming nor denying, according to Bloomberg.

In the Daily Telegraph Business Section we find BP denying that there is a problem.
Local reports recorded 51 missile strikes that left craters less than 100 yards on either side of a pressure vent.

A BP spokesman said that, after thorough checks, the company had "disclosed no bombing in the vicinity of the BTC line".
They may be right. Then again, BP is having a bit of a ding-dong with its Russian partners in TNK-BP and the CEO had to leave the country and retreat to an undisclosed destination not so long ago. So, they are unlikely to make any more waves.

It may not be an explosion by the PKK and there may have been no bombings, merely a case of Georgians trying to enlist Western help. Then again, there may be coincidences here that we should at least pay attention to, even if later on, we discard as being nothing more.

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