Sabotage investigated on Turkish pipeline

June 6, 2012 at 7:29 AM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 6 (UPI) -- An official in Azerbaijan said it was possible that saboteurs were behind an explosion that damaged the Turkish section of a key natural gas pipeline.

Authorities at Turkish pipeline company BOTAS said an explosion occurred May 29 near the border with Azerbaijan, forcing suspension of transit of natural gas through the South Caucasus pipeline.

BOTAS authorities said the cause of the explosion was unknown. Turkish officials suggested to the Platts news service that Kurdish militants may have played a role in the explosion.

"You can guess whether it was a technical issue or sabotage," an unnamed Azeri official added.

The separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party claimed responsibility for at least two attacks on natural gas pipelines in Turkey last summer.

BOTAS authorities last week suggested the pipeline would be repaired and returned to service within the next few days.

A contract between Turkey and Azerbaijan outlines the delivery of 233 billion cubic feet of natural gas from the Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea per year through the pipeline.

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