Sunday, August 10, 2008
"Hostilities between Georgia and Russia could threaten pipelines running through Tbilisi, which are key to West European energy supplies.
Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR has suspended oil exports via the Georgian ports of Batumi and Kulevi because of escalating conflict over South Ossetia.
The Georgian capital Tbilisi marks the first stage in the transfer of oil via two major pipelines from the Azeri region of the Caspian Sea, through Turkey into Europe.
Analysts say the Georgia conflict has given Western countries additional cause for concern after the US and Europe pushed through further heavy sanctions against Iran, the world's fourth largest oil supplier.
In a further threat to European energy supplies, Kurdish rebels sabotaged a vital oil conduit in eastern Turkey on Friday. The pipeline is expected to be inactive for two weeks.
Russian warplanes dropped bombs near the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan supply route on Saturday but caused no damage to the pipeline.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which began operating in May 2005 and was pioneered by BP, pumps around million barrels per day of crude oil from Azerbaijan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan via Georgia.
Another major supply line, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline (also known as the South Caucasus pipeline), transports natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Turkey. "