A major earthquake that rocked southeastern Türkiye early Monday inflicted severe damage to the country’s energy infrastructure, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said.
The powerful 7.7 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.
The quake toppled hundreds of buildings and killed at least 1,000 people, officials said. 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.
Severe damage has been inflicted on electricity and natural gas transmission and distribution lines, Dönmez informed.
He confirmed that the natural gas 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,” Dönmez 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 pipeline, an energy official told Reuters.
Yet, the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq said oil flows through the Turkish port of Ceyhan were temporarily suspended on Monday.
“Due to the earthquake that hit Turkey 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 Turkey 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 on the issue was underway.
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.
It has continued to pump oil out of the country despite the federal authorities demanding a halt to the trade.
“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 finalised.”
Earlier, state pipeline operator BOTAŞ said the natural gas supply was halted to Gaziantep, Hatay and Kahramanmaraş provinces and some other districts because of damage to a gas transmission line.
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.
Türkiye’s maritime authority said a major port in the Mediterranean coastal city of Iskenderun was damaged by the earthquake. The LimakPort Iskenderun International Port’s website could not be accessed at around noon.
Following its damage inspections, the authority said on Twitter that operations continue in ports besides Iskenderun.
In a statement, Limak Group said the dock of the port had been partially damaged, while photos on social media showed dozens of toppled containers.
Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, Türkiye’s first such facility that is currently under construction on the Mediterranean coast, was not damaged, said an official from the Russian company building the plant.
“Tremors of about 3.0 magnitude were felt here … but our specialists have reported no damage to the buildings, cranes or equipment,” said Anastasia Zoteeva from Russia’s state nuclear energy company Rosatom.
“Nevertheless, we are carrying out extensive diagnostic measures to make sure that construction and installation operations can continue safely,” the RIA news agency quoted the Rosatom official as saying.
Written by Marybeth Lucza
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