An earthquake that rocked southeastern Türkiye early Monday inflicted severe damage to the country’s energy infrastructure, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said, reports Daily Sabah.
The powerful 7.7-7.8 magnitude quake caused serious damage to the infrastructure, particularly in the Kahramanmaraş province, considered the epicenter of the earthquake, Dönmez told reporters.
Separately, officials said two critical oil pipelines and a nuclear power plant, currently under construction, remained unmarred.
Türkiye’s maritime authority said the earthquake damaged a major port in the Mediterranean coastal city of Iskenderun. Later in the day, a large fire burned and a plume of black smoke drifted high into the air over the LimakPort Iskenderun International Port.
The quake toppled hundreds of buildings and killed thousands of people. Hundreds were still believed to be trapped under the rubble, and the toll was expected to climb further as rescue workers searched mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area.
natural gas flows halted, oil flows suspended
Severe damage has been inflicted on electricity and natural gas transmission and distribution lines, Dönmez informed.
Earlier, state pipeline operator BOTAŞ said the natural gas flows were halted to Gaziantep, Hatay and Kahramanmaraş provinces and some other districts because of damage to a gas transmission line.
Dönmez confirmed the main transmission line in the Türkoğlu district of Kahramanmaras, close to the epicenter, was damaged the most. “This is our main transmission line that carries natural gas to Gaziantep, Hatay and Kilis, especially to Kahramanmaras. As of now, these areas may experience power outages,” he added.
Teams are working on repairing the damaged lines, he said, adding that approximately 30 substations belonging to Türkiye’s Electricity Transmission Corporation (TEIAŞ) suffered varying degrees of damage.
“We dispatched our mobile power plants to the region. In particular, we will try to supply natural gas and energy to facilities such as hospitals, soup kitchens and bakeries, both by compressed natural gas (CNG) transportation method and mobile generators,” Dönmez said.
There has been no damage to the Kerkuk-Ceyhan pipeline carrying oil from Iraq to Türkiye, or to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, an energy official told Reuters.
Yet, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said oil flows through the Turkish port of Ceyhan were temporarily suspended.
“Due to the earthquake that hit Türkiye and Syria, and to ensure the safety of oil exports and prevent any undesirable incidents, oil exports through the pipeline connecting the Kurdistan region to Türkiye have been suspended,” the region’s ministry of natural resources said in a statement.
The statement followed a halt in operations at the Ceyhan oil terminal in the southern province of Adana. Tribeca shipping agency said an emergency meeting would take place on the issue.
The Eastern Mediterranean terminal is some 155 kilometers (96 miles) from the area of the quake’s epicenter.
The Kurdish region usually exports around 450,000 barrels of oil a day through Türkiye.
“The Kurdistan Regional Government confirms the halt of oil exportation through #Turkey’s Ceyhan due to the earthquake that struck several areas in the country,” tweeted Lawk Ghafuri, head of foreign media relations in Kurdistan.
“The exportation will resume after careful inspection of the pipelines is finalized,” the tweet added.
Most upstream oil producers have several days of storage capacity, so KRG production should continue in the near term, an oil industry source told Reuters.
Regarding crude flows from Azerbaijan, two sources said there was no damage at the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan terminal, but one of the sources added that inspections would take place over the next 1-2 days.
There is sufficient storage capacity in Ceyhan and in Baku, and flows could be reduced if needed, the second source said.
Akkuyu nuclear plant undamaged
Meanwhile, Tribeca, in a notice, informed that the ports in southeastern Türkiye were also affected by the quake and that delays in operations were reported.
In a statement, the Limak Group said the dock of the Iskenderun port had been partially damaged, while photos on social media showed dozens of toppled containers.
Later footage showed dark smoke rising out among containers. It was not immediately clear what was burning.
The LimakPort Iskenderun International Port’s website could not be accessed throughout Monday.
Following the damage inspections, the maritime authority said on Twitter that operations continue in ports besides Iskenderun.
Source: Daily Sabah