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BP announces new Georgian pipeline closures

©

Latest update : 2008-08-12

British major BP decided to shut down further oil and gas pipelines in Georgia to prevent the damages fighting could cause, prompting concern about Europe's energy supply.

British energy giant BP said Tuesday that it has closed two more oil and gas pipelines in Georgia because of the ongoing conflict with Russia.

"We have closed two other pipelines in Georgia -- Baku-Supsa and the South Caucasus pipeline, which is a gas pipeline," a BP spokesman told AFP.

The key Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which BP also operates, was shut last week after a blast occurred in a pump at a section in eastern Turkey.

Russia's armed forces on Tuesday denied deliberately targeting the strategic BTC conduit running through Georgia after Tbilisi claimed it had been attacked by the Russian air force.

"The oil pipeline was never a target that needed to be bombed," deputy chief of general staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn said in a televised press conference.

He did not explicitly rule out the possibility that the pipeline might have been hit accidentally.

BP was also looking into the claim. "We're not aware of any attack at all. We have no report at all of an attack," a spokeswoman told AFP earlier on Tuesday.

Georgia's security council chairman said that Russian warplanes had targeted the BTC pipeline, which is used to transport oil from the Caspian Sea to Turkey's Mediterranean coast, but could not confirm any damage.

"Russians bombed the BTC pipeline south of the city of Rustavi," said Alexander Lomaia. "We don't know yet whether it was damaged. It's the second attempt to bomb this pipeline since August 10."

BP operates the 1,774-kilometre (1,109-mile) BTC pipeline -- the world's second largest -- that carries oil from Azerbaijan to Western markets via the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. It is capable of transporting 1.2 million barrels of crude per day.

Date created : 2008-08-12

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