October 17, 2007 / 11:06 AM / 12 years ago

Turkey steps up security for Baku-Ceyhan pipeline

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey has stepped up security for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline as its army prepares for a possible incursion into northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels there, a senior energy ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Oil prices have risen to record highs in recent days amid tensions between Turkey and Iraq over the Turkish military plans. Parliament is expected later on Wednesday to authorise military action.

“It is normal to have some threats against important pipelines at a time when Turkey is expected to launch an operation in northern Iraq. There are some threats (by Kurdistan Workers Party guerrillas) towards this pipeline,” a senior official told Reuters.

“For that reason, security measures in the facilities have been stepped up,” he said.

An official at state pipeline company Botas said the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline pumps oil at full capacity despite some small technical problems.

“There are no problems in the world markets with regard to oil supply. Great importance is attached to security of the pipeline,” he said.

But he said energy pipelines which cut across Turkey were too long for complete protection from possible sabotage.

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