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Wednesday, 20 August, 2008, 08:40 GMT | more prices >>

BP shuts in Georgia links

News wires

BP has closed two oil and gas pipelines running from its Caspian Sea fields through Georgia but neither has been damaged by recent fighting in the country, a spokesman for the UK supermajor said.

Earlier today, Georgia accused Russia of bombing its fuel lines, allegations denied by Moscow.

"We have checked those and there are no reports of any impact to any of the pipelines," a BP spokesman told Reuters.

The closure further limits BP's export options from the land-locked Caspian Sea after a fire damaged last week its key link to Turkey, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan trunkline, forcing to cut output from offshore Azeri fields to 250,000 barrels per day from 850,000 bpd.

Today, the company closed the 155,000-barrel a day Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP) running from Baku in Azerbaijan to the Georgian port of Supsa until it feels safe to reopen it.

"As a precaution we have stopped pumping oil through that earlier this morning," the spokesman said, adding that the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) which runs to the border with Turkey was also shut in today.

The 830-kilometre WREP line transports oil from the Chirag field in the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan to Supsa with about half of the pipeline in Georgia.

The 692-kilometre SCP link, which is buried underground, carries gas from the Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea through Georgia to the Turkish border, where it links to a Turkish-built extension joining SCP to the domestic supply grid at Erzurum.

The closure leaves BP with only Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk and Georgia's Black Sea ports of Batumi and Kuleva as the only available export options.

Meanwhile, BP-Azerbaijan said today it was unaware of an alleged Russian bombing of the Baku-Supsa link in Georgia.

"All our facilities are intact and we have no such information," a BP official told Reuters.

The head of Georgia's Interior Ministry security service department, Shengeli Keranidze, said earlier Russia had dropped three bombs in the area through which the Baku-Supsa pipeline runs. One bomb hit the pipeline without exploding, he said.

Russia's General Staff denied any attack on the pipeline.

Meanwhile, Turkey will increase its imports of gas from Iran to compensate for a reduction in supplies from Azerbaijan resulting from the conflict in Georgia, a senior source from the Turkish pipeline company Botas said.

Tuesday, 12 August, 2008, 11:37 GMT  | last updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2008, 14:39 GMT

Georgia moves: for BP

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