August 12, 2008 / 1:01 PM / 12 years ago

BP shuts Georgia oil, gas pipelines as a precaution

LONDON (Reuters) - BP (BP.L) 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 British oil major said on Tuesday.

Georgia accused Russia of bombing its fuel lines on Tuesday, allegations denied by Moscow.

“We have checked those and there are no reports of any impact to any of the pipelines,” the BP spokesman said.

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, Baku-Ceyhan, forcing to cut output from offshore Azeri fields to 250,000 barrels per day from 850,000 bpd.

On Tuesday, 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 on Tuesday.

The 830-km 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-km SCP, 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.

Reporting by Daniel Fineren; editing by James Jukwey

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